A fundamental principle that governs national security in democratic South Africa is that it
must ‘reflect the resolve of South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to live as equals, to
live in peace and harmony, to be free from fear and want and to seek a better life’. In both
frequency and intensity, the country continues to contend with rising levels of public protests.
The frustrations that breed discontent have their roots in marginalisation that results from
economic, social and political conditions. These issues find expression through protests over
the failures of governance, especially the slow pace of delivery or non-provision of essential
public services. A growing trend is how these kinds of protests are descending into violence,
with destructive and obstructive conduct. While the state must encourage democratic forms of
political participation, the expression of dissent by citizens through protests is increasingly met
with excessive force. This points to increasing tensions regarding the right to democratic
participation and the maintenance of law and order. This research investigates the extent to
which service delivery protests constitute a threat to ‘security' in South Africa. The research
contextualises the causes and the implications of the problem within the theoretical
understanding of security, particularly the purview of national security, human security and
securitisation as analytical tools. The study puts forward proposals for mechanisms which
could contribute towards improving approaches to security and its underlying conditions.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2018.