South Africans have lost trust in their municipalities, survey reveals
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Johannesburg - The perilous state of the country’s municipalities, which owe billions of rand, with 91% of them non-compliant with governance legislation, hits vulnerable residents, according to a new study.
The seventh South African Citizen Satisfaction Index (SA-csi), which was conducted by the firm Consulta with a sample of 2 427 random respondents, has again shown “that citizen satisfaction and trust in their local municipality has remained extremely low with none of the major metros managing to meet their residents’ expectations of service delivery”.
This survey, released publicly on Thursday, comes in the wake of revelations made by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who detailed the dire state of the country’s municipalities, which owe Eskom R53 billion and R11bn to water boards, as of the end of the 2019/20 fiscal year in June.
“This is compounded by leakages in the system, which (has) cost the state over R9.9bn in lost water revenue and R10.2bn in electricity losses.
“These are partially as a result of little or no budgeting for maintenance, which has been, at times, accompanied by huge under expenditure in grants directed at building and augmenting infrastructure,” Dlamini Zuma said.
She added that 91% of South Africa’s municipalities did not comply with the country’s legislation, which, she said, was attributable to a lack of oversight and financial controls.
The SA-csi survey, which measures citizen satisfaction and trust in the country’s eight metros (Buffalo City, Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Johannesburg, Mangaung, Nelson
Mandela Bay and Tshwane), showed that the City of Cape Town again ranked highest for resident satisfaction, with Ekurhuleni a close second.
According to Ineke Prinsloo, head of customer insights at Consulta, the gap between residents’ expectations regarding the delivery of services and the actual delivery “was relatively low” and “continued to widen”.
“A major contributor to the belowpar performance is the negative perception of reliability of services. While metropolitan municipalities conduct living standards and lifestyle surveys to assist them plan out their services better, the results of the index points to a greater need to utilise and optimise the data and research to ensure that skills and services are accurately planned and consistently delivered.
“The significant gaps in expectations versus the perceived quality of service delivery that citizens experience is a telling indicator that there is a pressing need for metros in terms of introspection, finding collaborative initiatives to review service delivery failures and to work consistently to turn the downward trend in the index to improve overall service delivery standards,” Prinsloo said.