​​Managing Community Conflict


​​Geographically, South Africa is a large country which is home to 58 million people. This population is broken up into vast numbers of demographically diverse populations spread over a wide area – urban, semi-urban, and rural. As such, there represents a huge potential for inter- and intra-community conflict. In addition to this potential is the potential for conflict between groups opposed on issues such as welfare, land and finance.

Recent examples that stand out include the demands for housing in places like Hermanus and Hout Bay, and the conflicts of interest that led to the incident at Marikana. As these examples show, there is a very dangerous potential for these conflicts to escalate into violent protests and violent responses to protests. In this regard, South Africa has a long and complicated past that continues to the present and very likely into the future.

Despite this history, this country has, in recent years, also been distinctly marked as a place of conflict resolution. It is in this spirit of resolution that many conflicts have been resolved through peaceful means, often against the odds like from 1990-1994 in which transition took place.

The aim of this research is to investigate where, how and why such conflicts occur and evolve in South Africa with challenges of social, economic and government dynamics. The research will also interrogate the role-players and their actions in terms of conflict, conflict management, and conflict resolution, which are needed in order to be able to bridge the conflict or instigate ongoing violence because of the lack thereof.

This is an exploratory research paper which hopes to start the engagement of conflict resolution opportunities in South Africa.

Full academic paper available upon request.

Presented at:

​​​​International Conference on Conflict Management (ICCM), Port Elizabeth