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Local Municipalities and Progress with the Delivery of Basic Services in South Africa


  • Waldo Krugell
  • Hannelie Otto
  • Jacky van der Merwe


In 1994, South Africa adopted the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and emphasised the delivery of services to meet basic needs. Since then, great strides have been made to redress past social inequalities. However, analysis of these successes have been limited to national or provincial aggregates, when much of the responsibility for meeting the RDP commitment lies at the local government level. The need for closer investigation of basic service delivery is clear from continuing protests over poor service delivery. This paper aims to shed more light on delivery at a local level by using data from the 2001 Census and the 2007 Community Survey. The analysis involves the construction of a service delivery index for each municipality and analysis of variance to explain the changes in service delivery over the period 2001 to 2007. The results show that improved service provision may require further urbanisation and densification. Also, local economic growth in itself may not be important, but it would contribute to the ability to pay for services, thereby aiding delivery.

Suggested Citation

  • Waldo Krugell & Hannelie Otto & Jacky van der Merwe, 2009. "Local Municipalities and Progress with the Delivery of Basic Services in South Africa," Working Papers 116, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:116

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ronelle Burger, 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, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 483-500.
    2. Ayanda Sotshongaye & Valerie Moller, 2000. "'We want to live a better life like other people': Self-assessed development needs of rural women in Ndwedwe, KwaZulu-Natal," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 117-134.
    3. Ros Hirschowitz & Mark Orkin, 1997. "Inequality in South Africa: Findings from the 1994 October Household Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 119-136, July.
    4. John Harris, 1999. "The challenge of local government delivery," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 183-193.
    5. Debbie Budlender, 1999. "Patterns of poverty in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 197-219.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oludele Akinloye Akinboade & Emilie Chanceline Kinfack & Mandisa Putuma Mokwena, 2012. "An analysis of citizen satisfaction with public service delivery in the Sedibeng district municipality of South Africa," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(3), pages 182-199, February.

    More about this item


    Delivery; basic services; community survey; local government; South Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration


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