eThekwini’s dismal service delivery record exposed

The eThekwini Municipality’s poor service delivery performance sees the City coming in seventh place for this municipal function out of eight metros across the country.

The eThekwini Municipality’s poor service delivery performance sees the City coming in seventh place for this municipal function out of eight metros across the country.

Published Apr 12, 2024


The eThekwini Municipality’s poor service delivery performance sees the City coming in seventh place for this municipal function out of eight metros across the country.

This is according to a municipal ranking report, known as the Governance Performance Index (GPI), released by Good Governance Africa (GGA) recently. The report rates the overall performance of municipalities based on the assessment of key indicators.

The report, titled Good Governance Performance Index 2024, was compiled with data sources primarily drawn for the period 2021-2023. These data sources include official reports like Statistics SA reports and those of government departments.

It highlights the instability of the coalitions that govern the metros, especially after the 2021 local government elections, as being among the contributing factors to their inability to perform at the expected levels. It said South Africa has eight metros that accommodate 40% of the population.

“Since the 2021 local government elections, most metropolitan municipalities have received significant media attention due to the instability in many metropolitan councils.”

The report found that attention has focused on the events in the five metros with hung councils, especially those in the economically dominant Gauteng.

“However, the story the GPI provides as it relates to the metropolitan is not solely negative. The generally effective governance present within Cape Town and Ekurhuleni is noteworthy.”

Ekurhuleni is experiencing leadership challenges at the moment, with the mayor having been pushed out of office.

The metros were measured on a scale of 1 to 5 on key indicators, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best overall rating of that metro. The indicators used include service delivery, planning, economic development, administration and leadership.

The report found that eThekwini was not doing well but was better than most of the other metros.

With the indicators measuring from 1 to 5, eThekwini scored 3 and was rated third after Cape Town and Erkurhuleni.

“The eThekwini Municipality is not doing well – when it comes to service delivery, it was ranked 7 out of 8 metros,” said Pranish Desai, a senior data analyst from GGA. The report showed that Mangaung was the worst when it came to service delivery.

Desai said for the five categories used to evaluate metros, eThekwini had the following ranks by category among the eight metros:

  • Administration and governance: 3 out of 8.
  • Leadership and management: 3 out of 8.
  • Planning, monitoring and evaluation: 3 out of 8.
  • Economic development: 3 out of 8.
  • Service delivery: 7 out of 8.

“The municipality has scope to improve across all categories, but especially in the area of service quality which looks at three aspects of service delivery – overall access to core services like water, sanitation and regular waste removal; municipal support provided to indigent/vulnerable households; quality of services, with emphasis on water services quality, wastewater services quality, and refuse removal,” said Desai.

Explaining why eThekwini would be listed number 3 if it was not doing that well, Desai said: “eThekwini is doing well in other categories like economic development, this has served to pull the municipality ahead of the other ones that are not doing well. eThekwini finishing third is more a function of it not being as bad as some other metros, and not because it is in a very good state,” said Desai.

He said in the municipalities that are ahead of eThekwini, governance was generally better, officials attended important meetings, and in the case of Ekurhuleni, which was now besieged by a leadership crisis, it had helped that the municipality had a formal coalition agreement in 2016, although this was not continued in 2021.

Ish Prahladh, president of the eThekwini Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, said he agreed with the report’s findings. “eThekwini is one of the worst municipalities when it comes to service delivery.”

Alan Beesley of ActionSA said it was not surprising that the Good Governance Africa report rated eThekwini service delivery as the second worst-performing metro.

“What is perhaps surprising is that eThekwini was not ranked the worst metro. It has become patently obvious, particularly to those living in eThekwini, that under the current mayor and ANC leadership, service delivery is collapsing and at an all time low.”

DA councillor Welekazi Sibiya said the party had raised concern about the state of service delivery.

“Residents of eThekwini have been rendered helpless as the proposed intervention by Cogta (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs) was brought to a halt by the ANC/EFF coalition.”

Mayoral spokesperson Mluleki Mntungwa requested that they be given time to study the report before providing a comprehensive response.

The Mercury