Service delivery protests in Strandfontein Road in Cape Town.  Picture: Henk Kruger
Service delivery protests in Strandfontein Road in Cape Town. Picture: Henk Kruger

Service delivery gripes now in cities too

By Deon de Lange Time of article published Jul 31, 2012

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Most South Africans are dissatisfied with the quality of services they receive from the government – and the unhappiness appears to be spreading from historical service-delivery hotspots in informal settlements to large metropolitan areas, a recent survey suggests.

Having canvassed the views of about 2 000 urban adults in April and May, market research company TNS SA released findings yesterday which suggest that 56 percent of citizens are unhappy with service delivery. This is down slightly from 58 percent in February last year, but up from 51 percent in November 2010.

“On a more positive note, 38 percent are satisfied with the service delivery they receive – essentially unchanged from the 41 percent (recorded) in November 2010 – while 6 percent gave a ‘don’t know’ response,” TNS’s Neil Higgs said.

Historically, the highest levels of dissatisfaction have been recorded in informal settlements – the scene of many service delivery protests – but the latest survey results suggest the negative mood has spread to large metropolitan areas.

Dissatisfaction levels in Pretoria have increased from 50 percent in November 2010 to 71 percent in May. And in Soweto, 61 percent of respondents recorded a negative attitude towards service delivery in May, compared to 49 percent two years ago.

High levels of dissatisfaction were also recorded in other urban areas, such as the West Rand (61 percent), Buffalo City (East London – 63 percent) and Joburg (55 percent).

Attitudes appear to have softened in some areas, including Mangaung (Bloemfontein), where recorded dissatisfaction declined from 70 percent in February last year to 54 percent this year, and in the Vaal (70 down to 56 percent).

Cape Town residents recorded the lowest levels of dissatisfaction among all the major metropolitan areas, with 48 percent of respondents saying they were unhappy.

Unlike similar socio-economic surveys conducted by TNS over the years, the latest study suggests that when it comes to service delivery dissatisfaction, race is a relatively insignificant factor.

Political Bureau

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