Investigating capacity self-assessment as a catalyst for improved municipal service delivery

Van Baalen, Sarel Migael (2014-04)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The enactment of the new Constitution of South Africa, 1996, gave prominence to the trans-formation of local government in South Africa. Rooted in the Constitution, the Municipal Systems Act, 2000, and the Municipal Structures Act, 1998, guide municipalities towards establishing structured performance management practices. As part of a comprehensive legislative framework for local government, these acts moreover state the functions of mu-nicipalities that include the delivery of basic municipal services. These services include amongst other, water provision, refuse removal, sanitation, electricity provision, municipal roads as well as stormwater management. Despite a range of statutory provisions, policy instruments and capacity improvement initiatives with a view to provide a democratic, participative, responsive, effective and efficient local sphere of government, South African municipalities, in general, continue to fail in eradicating service delivery backlogs. This is, at least partially, the result of the policies and practices of the apartheid era. Apart from eradicating backlogs, non-sustaining service delivery to communities has become a noticeable phenomenon. As a result, in 2012 the highest number of service delivery protests over the past decade occurred. The underperformance of municipalities can be linked to insufficient organisational capacity. This multidimensional concept consists of individual, institutional and environmental capacity. This study views capacity building as a key enabler for municipal performance improvement. Relating to this, capacity assessment is the first and foremost component of capacity building. Hence, it can be assumed that a correlation exists between municipalities’ service delivery performance and the degree to which municipalities are aware of its capacity to fulfil its service delivery mandate. Municipalities are mandated by the Municipal Systems Act, 2000 to perform internal capacity assessments when a new or reviewed Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is considered, and also when outsourcing of municipal services is considered. Besides this the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) is mandated by the Municipal Structures Act, 1998, to perform annual municipal capacity assessments. Though criticised for its untimeliness, narrow approach and inconsistency, the MDB municipal capacity assessment generates valuable insight. This is widely used by provincial governments, municipalities and private parties for policy formulation, strategic decision-making and capacity building initiatives. This exemplifies that if accurate municipal capacity data can frequently be attained, the effects on service delivery improvement initiatives can be profound. This research study aims to make a contribution in formulating solutions for needs that currently exist in this regard in South Africa. The focus of this study is the development of both a municipal capacity assessment frame-work and a subjective municipal capacity self-assessment model (SMCSAM), a software tool built in Microsoft’s Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) for engineering services at municipalities. The framework for municipal capacity assessment comprises of fifteen elements of capacity and eighteen service delivery phases. A third dimension of the framework exists in recognition of the six basic municipal services. This framework accordingly implements the matrix-method. SMCSAM implements the consolidated framework based on statements to be rated by the municipality according to their reality. SMCSAM allows the municipality to allocate weights to each of the fifteen elements of overall organisational capacity through the use of a Fuzzy Logic Hierarchical Analytical Process. Consequently, ratings of the statements are weighed and illustrated through two interactive user-interfaces which allow the municipality to instantly identify capacity strengths and weaknesses. To achieve this, assessment results are illustrated using colour-coding and related spider-diagrams. SMCSAM was implemented at Drakenstein Municipality and demonstrated to academics as well as experts in the public and private sector for validation purposes. Its results proved to be accurate and applicably related to the performance of this municipality. Through its implementation and validation, SMCSAM proved to be a valuable, understandable and practical solution to a noteworthy problem at municipalities in South Africa. In doing so, SMCSAM significantly contribute to research in the field of engineering management.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die aanvaarding van die nuwe Grondwet van Suid-Afrika, 1996 het grootliks aanleiding gegee tot die transformasie van plaaslike regering in Suid-Afrika. Munisipaliteite word deur die Wet op Munisipale Stelsels, 2000, en die Wet op Munisipale Strukture, 1998, begelei in die implementering van gestruktureerde prestasiebestuur praktyke. As deel van 'n omvattende wetgewende raamwerk, definieer hierdie twee wette ook die funksies van munisipaliteite, wat die lewering van basiese dienste insluit. Basiese dienste sluit onder andere watervoorsiening, vullisverwydering, sanitasie, elektrisiteitsvoorsiening, munisipale paaie en stormwaterbestuur in. Ten spyte van dié statutêre voorsienings, gepaardgaande beleidmaatreëls en inisiatiewe vir kapasiteitsverbetering met die doel om ʼn demokratiese, deelnemende, responsiewe, effektiewe en doeltreffende plaaslike sfeer van regering daar te stel, misluk baie munisipaliteite in Suid-Afrika in hul pogings om jarelange diensleweringsagterstande uit te wis. Hierdie agterstande is gedeeltelike die gevolg van die beleide en praktyke van die apartheidsera. Afgesien van die vertraagde uitwissing van agterstande, word munisipaliteite se onvermoë om effektiewe dienslewering aan gemeenskappe vol te hou, ook geïdentifiseer as ʼn probleemarea. As ʼn gevolg hiervan, het die jaarlikse hoeveelheid diensleweringproteste in 2012 ʼn nuwe hoogtepunt bereik. Die onvermoë van munisipaliteite om hul diensleweringsmandaat uit te voer kan grootliks toegeskryf word aan onvoldoende organisatoriese kapasiteit. Dié multidimensionele konsep bestaan uit individuele-, institusionele- en omgewingskapasiteit. Hierdie studie beskou kapasiteitsontwikkeling as ʼn fundamentele dryfkrag vir beter munisipale dienslewering, terwyl die assessering van munisipale kapasiteit die eerste en belangrikste fase van kapasiteitsontwikkeling is. Dit kan dus aanvaar word dat daar ʼn korrelasie bestaan tussen ʼn munisipaliteit se diensleweringsprestasie en die mate waartoe die munisipaliteit bewus is van sy kapasiteit om sy diensleweringsmandate na te kom. Munisipaliteite word deur die Wet op Munisipale Stelsels, 2000, verplig om ʼn interne kapasiteits-assessering te doen wanneer ʼn nuwe of hersiende Geïntegreerde Ontwikkelingsplan (GOP) oorweeg word of wanneer daar besluit moet word oor die uitkontraktering van munisipale dienslewering. Terselfdertyd word die Munisipale Afbakeningsraad (MAR) deur die Wet op Munisipale Strukture, 1998, verplig om jaarlikse munisipale kapasiteits-assesserings uit te voer. Alhoewel die MAR se munisipale kapasiteits-assessering gekritiseer word vir die ontydigheid, inkonsekwentheid en beperkte aanslag daarvan, word die resultate van hierdie assessering aangewend deur provinsiale regerings, munisipaliteite asook ander rolspelers in die publieke- en privaatsektor vir die doel om beleid te formuleer, strategiese besluite te neem en kapasiteit te bou. Dit dui daarop dat wanneer akkurate data van munisipale kapasiteit gereeld versamel word, dit grootliks dienslewering verbeteringsinisiatiewe kan aanhelp. Die studie ondersoek ʼn innoverende metode vir die selfassessering van munisipale kapasiteit. Die fokus van die studie is die ontwikkeling van ʼn gekonsolideerde munisipale kapasiteits-assesseringsraamwerk en ʼn geassosieerde subjektiewe munisipale kapasiteit selfassesseringsmodel (SMCSAM), ʼn sagtewarepakket wat geprogrammeer is in Microsoft se Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Die raamwerk bestaan uit vyftien elemente van kapasiteit en agtien diensleweringsfases. ʼn Derde dimensie van die raamwerk bestaan in die erkenning van die voorgenoemde ses basiese dienste. Hierdie raamwerk implementeer die matriksmetode dienooreenkomstig. SMCSAM implementeer die gekonsolideerde raamwerk gebaseer op stellings wat gegradeer moet word deur munisipaliteite binne die konteks van hul eie realiteit. SMCSAM laat munisipaliteite toe om gewigte te koppel aan elkeen van die vyftien elemente van kapasiteit deur middel van ʼn Fuzzy Logic Hiërargiese Ontledingsproses. Dit gebruik twee interaktiewe gebruikerskoppelvlakke wat munisipaliteite toelaat om vinnig die sterk- en swakpunte van hul organisatoriese kapasiteit te identifiseer. Hierdie resultate word aangedui deur middel van grafieke en kleur-kodering. SMCSAM is getoets by die Drakenstein Munisipaliteit en gedemonstreer aan akademici en deskundiges in die privaat en publieke sektor. Die resultate van die assessering dui op ʼn realistiese verwantskap tussen die munisipaliteit se organisatoriese kapasiteit en diensleweringsprestasie. Deur die implementering en validasie van SMCSAM, is dit bewys dat dié model ʼn waardevolle, verstaanbare en ʼn praktiese oplossing bied vir ʼn werklike probleem by munisipaliteite in Suid-Afrika. Sodoende, maak die model ʼn betekenisvolle bydra tot die navorsingsveld van ingenieursbestuur.

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