Citizenship crisis or xenophobia?:a critical analysis of service delivery protest in South Africa

13 Feb 2017

South African local government has been synonymous with the service delivery protests since the acquiring of democratic rule in 1994. The service delivery protests have been accompanied by images of burnt tyres, looting of goods, and destruction of property, road blockades and violence against foreigners (xenophobia). Frustrated local citizens perpetrated these atrocities. This paper has identified the need to look at the underlying cause of such behaviour. The question is whether all the blame can be put on the municipal government for its failures to provide quality service delivery to its citizens or it is part of the generic problem around the world of citizenship politics where until recently most nations are faced with the problem of migration and the growing population. This paper seeks to explain the violent social service delivery protests as part of the identity or citizenship crisis emanating from South Africa's historical background. Consequently, pertinent issues such as xenophobia and the current problem of immigrants in South Africa and around the world will be explained as the discussion continues under. This research discovers that it is problematic to put together all these municipal problems under the broader rubric service delivery protest. The other explanation to the issue of service delivery protests is what the researchers of this article describe as citizenship crisis. Citizenship crisis in South Africa is explained in the instance where the country has been struggling with building its image since the acquiring of democratic rule. The late former President Nelson Mandela envisaged that South Africa is a rainbow nation. Nonetheless, the country has been faced with the non-acceptance of foreign nationals within its borders. In essence, this can be attributed to effects of the apartheid system on the mind of the people.