Protests cost billions

13 May 2016 - 08:59 By KATHARINE CHILD, ROXANNE ROBERTSON and KGOTHATSO MADISA


Service protests are becoming more destructive but it is unlikely that we will know the true cost of the vandalism. Economist Dawie Roodt said the real cost of cancelled foreign investment as stories of burning infrastructure hit international headlines cannot be calculated.The country is spending billions repairing infrastructure damaged in violent protests in communities and at education facilities. The SA Special Risk Association, an insurer, has said claims for damage caused by service delivery protests amounted to 67% of claims in the 2015-2016 financial year, up from 18% the year before. Student riots accounted for 10% of claims up from 1% the year before.On Wednesday night protesting students at Vaal University of Technology burnt down a staff house and set fire to an office. The university said it would cost more than R1-million to repair the damage. Municipal IQ has noted protests are becoming more frequent and more violent. Karen Heese said 86% of protests on the Municipal IQ Hotspots Monitor were violent.Already millions have been lost to violent protests including:An estimated R100-million in damages caused when five schools in Malumele, Limpopo, were burnt down. The Education Department estimates rebuilding a school can cost up to R20-million;The estimated R300-million cost of repairing damage caused during Fees Must Fall protests at multiple universities;Hundreds of millions of rands the City of Cape Town said it spends annually repairing infrastructure damaged by vandalism, not all acts of which are protest-related; andHalf a billion rand the Department of Basic Education has estimated is needed to rebuild 24 schools burnt down in Vuwani.

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