Durban - THE majority of the Msunduzi municipality residents are happy with the level of service they are getting from the municipality.
This is according to a customer satisfaction survey conducted by the municipality last year.
It found that about 42% of the city’s residents were happy with the levels of service delivery, while about 35% were unhappy. Those who were found to be unhappy with service delivery said the municipality’s performance was poor or very poor.
The findings, tabled before a special full council yesterday, however, have come under fire from ratepayers and councillors who said they did not correlate with the conditions experienced daily on the ground.
One councillor privately ridiculed the survey, saying “it must have been done at a pub near closing time”.
They said the results of the survey flies in the face of the real service delivery challenges that included prolonged water outages in some of the municipality’s wards, power outages, roads riddled with potholes and failure to collect refuse.
In its report, the municipality said the customer satisfaction survey was meant to assess the current living conditions of the respondents and to evaluate the service quality of the municipality and gain understanding of the perceptions of the respondents.
It said the methodology of the survey included sending out questionnaires to the city’s 39 wards and using a sample of about 15 questions from each ward to form an analysis. It also put the survey on the City’s website and this also formed part of the analysis.
The analysis found that of the 42% of the public happy with the municipality’s performance, they said the service delivery was efficient, community access roads were being built, RDP houses were being built or renovated, in areas where there was no water, water tanker services were available and the municipality resolved the complaints they had.
The report found that of the 35% that found the performance to be poor or very poor, they highlighted the lack of development, saying in the last year there had been no developmental project undertaken, that the municipality failed to resolve their complaints and failed to keep promises.
They also said that it failed to maintain roads that were full of potholes and that there were water and power outages. Some said they are not even provided with basic services.
Anthony Waldhausen, the chairperson of Msunduzi Association of Residents, Ratepayers and Civics (MARRC) said the survey was an attempt by the City to put a “spin” on a bad situation.
“We do not know who they conducted that survey with and who they told about it. If you go to their Facebook page, there are hundreds of comments there by ratepayers and they are negative.”
The sentiments were shared by DA councillor Sibongiseni Majola, who said the survey was a clear indication that the City was in denial about the depth of the challenges it was facing.
“We cannot get out of this situation if we continue to deny the challenges we face. There is serious talk among the ratepayer organisations to boycott the paying of rates, they are asking why they should continue paying for services they are not getting or that other people get for free,” he said.
ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand described the survey as wishful thinking. He said jokingly, “according to that survey, we live in the best place on earth, second only to heaven”.
“The conditions on the ground do not speak to that survey. There have been several reports tabled that speak to how dire the situation really is,” he said.
But municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the survey should be read in the context of the municipality’s efforts to improve service delivery.
“We acknowledge there are challenges on the ground. The focus should not be on the statistics but rather on that this is in one of the instruments the municipality will use to identify areas of concern to improve service delivery,” she said.