What we have learnt from post-1994 innovations in pro-poor service delivery in South Africa : a case study-based analysis
Burger, R. 2005. What we have learnt from post-1994 innovations in pro-poor service delivery in South Africa: A case study-based analysis. Development Southern Africa, 22(4):483-500, doi:10.1080/03768350500322966.
The original publication is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03768350500322966
Service delivery is vital for alleviating poverty in South Africa. This paper contributes to the dialogue on how to maximise the impact of pro-poor service delivery by considering evidence from a wide selection of case studies to distinguish the successes and failures of post-1994 pro-poor service delivery. Case evidence brings to light four important points: that decentralisation and participation can reinforce historical distributions of privilege; that community ownership is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for effective service delivery to individuals in rural communities; that when managed well private outsourcing can benefit the poor; and that the abolition of user fees is often not the best way to ensure access to basic services. The paper cautions against overly ambitious and idealistic policy making. When a policy fails because of its lack of flexibility or its disregard for the constraints of the implementation context, this failure should be attributed to short-sighted policy making and not to implementation failure. © 2005 Development Bank of Southern Africa.