This is according to The Citizen Satisfaction Survey, which was released by Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke and Premier Willies Mchunu in Durban.
The survey was conducted on more than 22000 households, indicating that 40% of the residents are satisfied with services and 60% have varying degrees of dissatisfaction.
According to the results, the majority of people were “outright dissatisfied” with the general performance of their local municipalities, including eThekwini. The top issues complained about were water and sanitation, electricity, clinics, affordable housing, crime and corruption, and road maintenance.
Dr Rama Naidu, an expert on community engagement and head of NPO Democracy Development Programme, said the results of the survey were not a surprise.
“If you look at all the service delivery protests that have been happening across the province, it is indicative of the unhappiness of people,” he said.
Structures that were meant to increase public participation in order to facilitate communication between residents and local authorities were dysfunctional, he said.
“Structures such as ward and street committees have been captured by political parties and do not carry out their functions.
“Residents then become cynical that their concerns will be dealt with, and this is what leads to mass protests.”
However, he said residents needed to play a more active role in local government affairs, in order to keep the officials accountable to their mandate.
“Even if there is one voice that asks important questions, it will get the conversation going and make an impact. We cannot sit back and complain, we must be active in how our money, as ratepayers, is used.”
The survey also found that male citizens regarded fighting corruption as a top priority, while female householders as well as those aged between 15 and 39 indicated education and skills development as a bigger concern. Those aged 36 to 59 regard fighting corruption as a top priority and those aged 60 and above feel that growing the economy should be given more importance.
Responding to issues raised in the report, eThekwini Municipality’s deputy head of the communications unit, Mandla Nsele, said service delivery remains a key priority.
“The city has noted the issues raised by residents and more diligence will be taken when addressing these matters. The satisfaction of the residents remains a priority.
“As a caring city, eThekwini Municipality has a dedicated team of staff members who strive to provide superior service to all city residents.”
Asked how the municipality plans to use the results contained in the survey, Nsele said: “The city has noted the issues raised by the residents and will do all it can to make sure that these needs are addressed. The creation of jobs is one of the issues that we are already addressing.
“We have several programmes, including the Extended Public Works Programme, which focuses on vulnerable groups, especially women, youth and the disabled. We also have several catalytic projects, in particular the Go!Durban project, which will create corridors with nodal development, mixed use and densification.
“We are committed to job creation. We will be able to achieve our vision by working with the private and public sector. The city has created work opportunities. This includes 200 new metro police recruits who started training in June,” said Nsele.