An analysis of the causes of violence during strike action in South Africa: A psychological perspective

Author: Carlos J Tchawouo Mbiada

ISSN: 1996-2185
Affiliations: Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Venda
Source: South African Mercantile Law Journal, Volume 34 Issue 3, 2022, p. 404 – 420


Peaceful strikes in post-apartheid South Africa are uncommon. Most industrial action is associated with violent acts to the extent that violence seems to be the norm. Different scholarly contributions regarding the causes of the high number of violent strikes in South Africa have been made; most of these, this article argues, are sociologically and legally inclined. Using the Freudian political psychology theory and the frustration-aggression hypothesis, this article opines that episodic waves of violent activities during strike action are subject to the psychological imbalances and frustrations emanating as a twin phenomenon of intrinsically motivated apartheid posttraumatic effects and people’s inability to meet their basic needs of life. Using an orderly and systematic review of the literature, the article unpacks the causes of violent strikes in South Africa in a psychological manner.