File picture: Karen Sandison

Johannesburg - A research report by the Gauteng City Region Observatory has indicated growing levels of dissatisfaction with local government performance in areas across Gauteng.

This may prove decisive in the upcoming local government elections in the battle for the Gauteng metros.

Published in August last year, the report also relies on the quality of life survey conducted by the institution in 2013.

Political parties have about four months to be ready for the elections following the August date for the polls announced by President Jacob Zuma this week.

The report reveals high levels of dissatisfaction in areas the ANC cannot afford to lose if they are to retain significant support in many wards across the province.

While there are growing concerns inside the ANC about the possibility of losing the Tshwane, Joburg or Ekurhuleni metros, the report shows that the highest levels of dissatisfaction are observed among respondents living in non-metropolitan municipalities.

It shows residents of wards in Emfuleni and Westonaria municipalities are among the most dissatisfied residents in the province, with 68 percent of respondents in Emfuleni and 64 percent of residents in Westonaria dissatisfied with local government performance and services.

Levels of dissatisfaction in other non-metropolitan municipalities in Mogale City, Merafong and Randfontein were at 54 percent, 52 percent and 50 percent respectively.

Emfuleni was the subject of a proposed merger with Midvaal, which is the only DA-run municipality in the province.

The DA has maintained that the proposed merger, which was last year set aside by the Pretoria High Court, was a politically-driven effort by the ANC to wrest control of Midvaal from the DA by merging it with a more populous and ANC-controlled area of Emfuleni.

Respondents in the metros had a lower level of dissatisfaction, even though Joburg and Ekurhuleni were at 53 percent and 50 percent respectively.

Tshwane scored the lowest levels of dissatisfaction with 46 percent, but this may not be comforting to the ANC as some areas historically controlled by the ANC showed high levels of dissatisfaction with the performance of local government services.

When the analysis is narrowed down to ward level in Tshwane, it shows high levels of dissatisfaction in Mamelodi and the northern parts of the city, particularly in the Winterveldt, Mabopane and Hammanskraal areas.

In Westonaria, high levels of dissatisfaction were observed in Khutsong and Bekkersdal, areas that have proved to be a difficult terrain for the ruling party in the run-up to the 2014 general elections.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said while the ANC was confident of retaining the Nelson Mandela metro in the Eastern Cape, there were concerns about Gauteng.

Sunday Independent