Local government service provision and non-payment within underdeveloped communities of the Johannesburg Unicity : service providers' and consumers' perspective

Netswera, Fulufhelo Godfrey (2005-04)

Thesis (DPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South African local government literature suggests a historical problem of municipal non-consultation in services identification and provision that goes hand-in-hand with community non-participation in municipal activities, coupled by a ‘culture of non-payment’ for these services. This research, which was conducted between 2002 and 2005 in the city of Johannesburg municipality, had the central purpose of ascertaining the manner and ways in which the city of Johannesburg provides its basic services to the Soweto communities and, in turn, of understanding if communities participate in municipal activities and hold possible attitudes of non-payment for municipal services. In order to attain the research purpose, six research questions were identified through local government theories and literature and advanced. The first set of four questions was aimed at the Soweto communities: How affordable are the basic municipal services to the Soweto communities? What are community’s perceptions of the importance of the various municipal services? Are the communities participating in the services identification and provision? How satisfied are the communities with the service delivery? The second set of two questions was aimed at service providers or the municipal services managers and councillors: What methods does the municipality use in identifying and delivering service? What does the municipality perceive to be their application and enforcement of service quality management standards? The original methodological intent was to interview the Soweto communities and the city of Johannesburg municipal services managers and councillors. 200 Soweto households were indeed interviewed from the eight townships of Chiawelo, Diepkloof, Dobsonville, Dube, Jabulani, Meadowlands, Naledi and Orlando, which were randomly selected. The survey amongst the heads of these 200 households was followed by four focus group meetings at Chiawelo, Dobsonville, Dube and Meadowlands and between five and eleven households participated in the discussions in clarifying survey outcomes. It was only possible, however, to interview three service managers from the city of Johannesburg services utilities Pikitup, Johannesburg Water and the Contract Management Unit. Frustrated attempts to interview municipal councillors in the city of Johannesburg led to obtaining permission for proxy interviews from the MEC of Local Government and Traffic Safety in Mpumalanga municipalities of Govan Mbeki and Emalahleni and the inclusion of the KwaZulu-Natal municipality of Emnambithi. The usage of proxy interviews is thought to be relevant since the perceptions on service provision relate to the application and implementation of the uniform countrywide local government structures and systems. A total of 24 interviews were conducted with the Mpumalanga MEC, the city of Johannesburg service managers (3), councillors (9) and senior municipal administrators (11). In order to confirm or repudiate service provider findings from the Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal municipalities, supplementary interviews were held with persons knowledgeable about service delivery in Soweto between 2002 and 2005. A total of four additional interviews were thus conducted. In the analysis of the community survey data, townships were classified as well-off and worse-off on the basis of household incomes and thus participation in municipal activities, payment of services and other attitudes were compared between the two strata. The findings of the research reveal low levels of ability to pay for municipal services by communities in terms of household incomes. However, the household possessions of the living standard measurement (LSM) utilities indicated otherwise. The use of income as a measure of affordability to pay is suspect in methodological reliability; hence income related findings should be interpreted with caution. The worse-off townships preferred state provision of the basic municipal services. There was less inclination to participate in municipal structures such as ward committees and Integrated Development Plans (IDP) processes by the well-off townships, although they were the least satisfied with service provision and municipal performance. The city of Johannesburg municipality was found to be addressing service backlogs as a method for service identification and prioritisation. The municipality has semi-privatised basic municipal services such as water, electricity and garbage collection through section 21 companies in order to overcome service provision inefficiencies and ineffectiveness. This has devastating effects in terms of the community’s inability to pay, leading to services disconnection. Communities in general, however, believed that service provision has improved through these utilities even though the municipality has not finalised its performance management contracts with the utilities. Whereas the service provider interviews were conducted in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, additional telephone interviews with service provision experts for Soweto agreed that municipal challenges throughout the country are generally the same since they operate within relatively new policy frameworks. It is acknowledged, however, that metropolitan municipalities and specifically the city of Johannesburg face some unique challenges too. It is concluded that the central role of the local government as the custodian of basic municipal services cannot be disputed; however, the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of the market forces require private-public partnerships. It can also be concluded that non-participation is an outcome of, among other things, poor participative capacity within communities, apathy, feelings of distrust of both the municipal institutions and municipal councillors and the lack of information regarding community obligations to municipal institutions. The research recommends the use of similar service utilities in both townships and former white suburban areas in order to overcome the perceptions of the municipal services level disparities that are formed on the basis of townships versus white suburban areas; an overhaul of the municipality’s billing system to overcome its debt and service charges collection problems; ward committee participation capacity improvement for both the municipal councillors and communities and the development and communication of clear guidelines on the roles of regional services management centres. Further research is recommended on, among other things, whether privatisation of municipal services results in better access by all and improves efficiency and payments, and on the functionality and effectiveness of ward committees as vehicles for community participation and in developing new and more reliable socio-economic modelling for assessing community ability to pay for government services.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Uit ’n literatuuroorsig van plaaslike regering in Suid-Afrika het dit geblyk dat daar ’n historiese probleem van nie-oorlegpleging by die identifisering en lewering van dienste deur munisipaliteite bestaan. Hierdie probleem gaan hand aan hand met niedeelname aan munisipale aktiwiteite deur gemeenskappe en ’n kultuur van “geenbetaling” vir dienste gelewer. Die hoofdoel van hierdie navorsing, wat tussen 2002 en 2005 in die stad Johannesburg gedoen is, was om vas te stel hoe die stad se munisipaliteit basiese dienste aan Soweto lewer en of daar enige gemeenskapsdeelname aan aktiwiteite is en of gemeenskappe ’n geenbetaling-houding inneem. Om die navorsingsdoel te bereik is ses vrae deur middel van literatuur en teorieë oor plaaslike regering geïdentifiseer. Die eerste vier vrae is gemik op gemeenskappe in Soweto: Hoe bekostigbaar is die basiese munisipale dienste aan die gemeenskappe in Soweto? Wat is die gemeenskap se mening oor die belangrikheid van die onderskeie munisipale dienste? Het gemeenskappe deel aan die identifisering en lewering van dienste? Hoe tevrede is die gemeenskappe met dienslewering? Die laaste twee vrae is gemik op die diensleweraars of munisipaledienstebestuurders en raadslede: Watter metodes gebruik die munisipaliteit om dienste te identifiseer en te lewer? Wat beskou die munisipaliteit as op hulle van toepassing sover dit die afdwingbaarheid van kwaliteitstandaarde in die lewering van dienste en bestuur betref? Oorspronklik was die doel om onderhoude te voer met gemeenskappe in Soweto sowel as munisipaledienste-bestuurders en raadslede van Johannesburg. Onderhoude met hoofde van 200 huishoudings in Soweto is wel gevoer. Hierdie huishoudings is ewekansig uit Chiawelo, Diepkloof, Dobsonville, Dube, Jabulani, Meadowlands, Naledi en Orlando gekies. Die onderhoude is gevolg deur vier fokusgroepvergaderings te Chiawelo, Dobsonville, Dube en Meadowlands, en tussen vyf en elf huishoudings het aan besprekings deelgeneem ten einde duidelikheid te verkry oor bevindinge van die ondersoek. Dit was egter net moontlik om onderhoude met drie dienstebestuurders van die stad Johannesburg te voer, naamlik Pikitup, Johannesburg Water en die Kontrak Bestuursgroep. Verskeie vrugtelose pogings om onderhoude met raadslede te bekom het uiteindelik gelei tot die verkryging van toestemming vir plaasvervangende onderhoude met die LUR vir die Plaaslike Regering sowel as Verkeersveiligheid in die volgende munisipaliteite: Govan Mbeki en Emalahleni in Mpumalanga en Emnambithi in KwaZulu-Natal. Hierdie plaasvervangende onderhoude is as toepaslik beskou, aangesien die menings oor dienslewering te doen het met die toepassing en implementering van die uniforme landswye plaaslikeregering-strukture en -stelsels wat dus op Soweto ook van toepassing is. ’n Totaal van 24 onderhoude is gevoer met die Mpumalanga-LUR (1), die dienstebestuurders van die stad Johannesburg (3), raadslede (9) en senior munisipale administrateurs (11). Om die bevindinge van die Mpumulanga- en KwaZulu-Natal-munisipaliteite te bevestig of te weerlê, is aanvullende onderhoude met persone wat kennis van dienslewering in Soweto het tussen 2002 en 2005 gevoer. Altesaam vier addisionele onderhoude is dus gevoer. Tydens die ontleding van die gemeenskapsdata is gemeenskappe as gegoed of minder gegoed geklassifiseer op grond van huishoudelike inkomste en dus is deelname aan munisipale aktiwiteite, betaling vir dienste en ander gesindhede tussen die twee strata vergelyk. Daar is bevind dat min mense munisipale dienste kan bekostig in terme van huishoudelike inkomste, maar dat huishoudelike besittings wat lewenstandaard bepaal op die teenoorgestelde dui. Die gebruik van huishoudelike inkomste as ’n maatstaf van die vermoë om te betaal is ’n aanvaarbare metode, maar moet tog met omsigtigheid benader word. Die gemeenskap wat die slegste daaraan toe was, verkies dat die staat basiese munisipale dienste voorsien. ’n Laer geneigdheid tot deelname aan munisipale strukture soos wykskomitees en geïntegreerde ontwikkelingsplanne is by die meer gegoede gemeenskappe aangetref, hoewel hulle die grootste ontevredenheid toon met dienslewering en munisipale werkverrigting. Daar is gevind dat die munisipaliteit van die stad Johannesburg die agterstand in dienste aangespreek het as metode om dienste te identifiseer en te prioritiseer. Om die probleem van oneffektiewe en ondoeltreffende dienste te oorkom, maak die munisipaliteit gebruik van artikel 21- maatskappye vir dienste soos water, elektrisiteit en vullisverwydering. Dit lei tot die beëindiging van die dienste van gemeenskappe wat nie kan betaal nie. Oor die algemeen is inwoners egter van mening dat dienste deur hierdie maatskappye verbeter is, hoewel die munisipaliteit nog nie sy prestasiebestuurkontrakte met hierdie maatskappye gefinaliseer het nie. Terwyl die onderhoude met diensverskaffers in Mpumalanga en KwaZulu- Natal gevoer is, is verdere telefoniese onderhoude met kundiges op die gebied van dienslewering in Soweto gevoer. Laasgenoemde het saamgestem dat munisipaliteite regoor die land oor die algemeen voor dieselfde uitdagings te staan kom, omdat hulle binne relatief nuwe beleidsraamwerke funksioneer. Daar word egter toegegee dat stedelike (metropolitaanse) munisipaliteite, en spesifiek die stad Johannesburg, ook met sekere unieke uitdagings te kampe het. Die gevolgtrekking waartoe gekom is, is dat die rol van plaaslike regering as die toesighouer oor basiese munisipale dienste nie betwis kan word nie, hoewel oneffektiwiteit en ondoeltreffendheid privaat vennootskappe vereis. ’n Verdere gevolgtrekking is dat niedeelname onder andere ’n gevolg is van ’n gebrek aan deelnemende kapasiteit binne gemeenskappe, apatie, wantroue in munisipale instellings en raadslede, en ’n gebrek aan inligting rakende gemeenskappe se verpligtinge jeens munisipale instellings. Die navorsing beveel aan dat gelyke dienste gelewer word in swart gemeenskappe en in tradisioneel wit gemeenskappe ten einde die siening dat daar onderskeid getref word, te verander. Daar behoort ook ’n hersiening van die munisipaliteit se rekeningestelsel te wees ten einde die skuldinvorderingsprobleme uit die weg te ruim. Deelnemende kapasiteit vir raadslede en gemeenskappe binne wyke moet verbeter word. Duidelike riglyne oor die rol van streeksdienstebestuursentrums moet ontwikkel en aan gemeenskappe oorgedra word. Verdere navorsing word aanbeveel om te bepaal of die privatisering van dienste tot beter toegang vir almal sal lei en of dit doeltreffendheid en betaling sal verbeter. Die funksionaliteit en effektiwiteit van wykskomitees as meganisme vir gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid sowel as die ontwikkeling van nuwe en meer betroubare sosio-ekonomiese modelle vir die bepaling van gemeenskapsvermoë om vir dienste te betaal, behoort ook ondersoek te word.

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