Cape Town - Where two thirds of Capetonians are satisfied with the services they get from the City of Cape Town, there’s been a noticeable decrease in support from those living in Mitchells Plain and Klipfontein - traditionally considered DA strongholds.
The annual customer satisfaction survey by TNS measures public perceptions of the city’s service delivery. Results are recorded for each of the city’s eight health districts: Northern, Western, Eastern, Khayelitsha, Southern, Tygerberg, Mitchells Plain and Klipfontein.
While the scores improved in most districts, Mitchells Plain and Klipfontein (Athlone, Hanover Park and Manenberg) showed considerable dips in customer satisfaction.
In Mitchells Plain, where the satisfaction score dropped from 33 to 21 this year, residents said the city needed to focus on human settlements, law enforcement, health services - in particular the long waiting times at clinics - and parks.
In Klipfontein, where the overall satisfaction score dropped from 25 to 18 this year, residents said the city needed to do more to improve conditions in human settlements.
Soon after his surprise move to the ANC earlier this year, former DA leader in the metro Grant Pascoe claimed that predominantly coloured voters in Mitchells Plain and other areas were growing increasingly disillusioned with the way the DA was governing the city.
He predicted the city would withhold the findings of the survey until after the election, as it revealed the party’s diminishing support base.
While the TNS survey does lend some credence to Pascoe’s assertion, the city’s Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for corporate services, emphasised that the slight drop of support recorded in the latest survey came off a relatively high satisfaction rate.
“The long-term trend is of rising satisfaction with the performance of the city.”
She said that most areas, including Khayelitsha, had recorded improved levels of customer satisfaction. When it came to rating the city’s overall performance, there were significant increases in support from the Southern and Northern districts. Only six percent of residents across the city felt that service delivery had deteriorated.
According to the responses, the ability to provide essential services remained one of the city’s strengths.
There was also a significant improvement in public transport scores.
But the survey also highlighted areas which need more attention. The city’s ability to provide safe bicycle lanes was rated as below average. Another criticism was the city’s inability to provide affordable electricity.
While there was general satisfaction with law enforcement, the city needed to do more to enforce bylaws and deal with complaints about noise and other nuisances.
Many residents objected to long queues and waiting times at municipal clinics.
The city also needed to improve its ability to enforce planning and building regulations, while housing options for the poor needed to be prioritised.
Residents complained about the delays in getting building development and planning applications approved. There were also concerns about the accuracy of the city’s property valuation.
But the city performed well when it came to providing basic services and responding to complaints. It was also easy to buy prepaid electricity, said respondents.
Most felt that the city needed to fight corruption, and that councillors needed to conduct themselves appropriately. Satisfaction with the way mayor Patricia de Lille dealt with city issues increased significantly from last year’s survey.
The pattern of customer confidence was echoed in the TNS business survey, in which almost 90 percent of those surveyed rated the city’s performance as good to excellent. Most felt that the city was doing particularly well in providing essential services, while emergency and fire services continued to be among the highest-rated.
But businesses appealed for adequate measures to deal with corruption in the city, regular inspections of fire safety equipment in commercial districts and properly trained call centres to deal with queries.
The municipality also needed to provide infrastructure, safety and public transport to improve the economic climate.