It noted that eThekwini was the worst hit metro, followed by Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni.
“While service delivery protests can degenerate into looting, this tends to be tangential to most such protests and tends to take place where protests are staged, rather than becoming the focus of protests.”
Karen Heese, an economist at Municipal IQ, said most service delivery protests, even those billed as #Shutdowns, were not typified by looting but rather the closing of businesses.
“Organisers also dissociate themselves from such incidents when they occur. It is, however, noteworthy that in recent months there have been several incidents in which protesters have looted trucks that have been caught up in service delivery protests,” she said.
Service delivery protests tended to be contained within the areas in which they erupt, with police monitoring the periphery, the organisation said.
“It is possible that this approach was taken to deal with recent unrest, without an appreciation of the scale of looting that was to unfold, to the point where numbers became overwhelming,” Municipal IQ said.
“Going forward, and this may affect the policing of service delivery protests, there may be stricter protection of national roads and truck drivers, given the potential for such incidents to spiral and compromise economic activity.”