Local Municipalities and progress with the delivery of basic services in South Africa

Working Paper 116
Author(s): 
Waldo Krugell, Hannelie Otto and Jacky van der Merwe
Publication date: 
February, 2009
Classification-JEL: 

In 1994, South Africa adopted the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and emphasised the delivery of services to meet basic needs. Since then, great strides have been made to redress past social inequalities. However, analysis of these successes have been limited to national or provincial aggregates, when much of the responsibility for meeting the RDP commitment lies at the local government level. The need for closer investigation of basic service delivery is clear from continuing protests over poor service delivery. This paper aims to shed more light on delivery at a local level by using data from the 2001 Census and the 2007 Community Survey. The analysis involves the construction of a service delivery index for each municipality and analysis of variance to explain the changes in service delivery over the period 2001 to 2007. The results show that improved service provision may require further urbanisation and densification. Also, local economic growth in itself may not be important, but it would contribute to the ability to pay for services, thereby aiding delivery.

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