Qualitative evidence of municipal service delivery protests implications for south africa


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Qualitative evidence of municipal service delivery protests implications for south africa

  1. 1. QUALITATIVE EVIDENCE OF MUNICIPAL SERVICE DELIVERY PROTESTS: IMPLICATIONS FOR SOUTH AFRICA Zacheus Matebesi Department of Sociology Paper presented at the 2nd European Conference: Qualitative Research for Policy Making 26 & 27 May 2011, Belfast, United Kingdom May 26, 2011
  2. 2. OUTLINE1. Background2. Research methods3. Findings4. Recommendations
  3. 3. AS A POINT OF DEPARTURE…“Social control is a continuing function of every social system. When the mechanisms of control [both formal and informal] weaken, people may lose confidence in the existing system and try to reform it through collective behaviour… Social control can breakdown when the formal agents of control fail to perform their roles adequately.” Turner & Kilian, 1987)
  4. 4. 1 BACKGROUND – LOCAL GOVERNMENT • South Africa has three tiers of government: – National – Provincial – Local (municipalities) • Local Government (LG) - distinctive sphere of government, which is interdependent, and inter-related with national and provincial spheres of government. •
  5. 5. 1. BACKGROUND – SERVICE DELIVERY PROTESTS• Apartheid-era - social protests against the political system used to be widespread• But, 17 years after the new political dispensation…. • “it might appear as if the rolling mass action of the end-of-apartheid period had simply continued into the dawn of a democratic government in South Africa”
  7. 7. METHODS (1)• Presentation is based on four case studies:1. Phumelela (Free State Province)2. Phomolong (Free State Province)3. Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape Province)4. Khutsong (Gauteng Province)• Gauteng case study differs – primarily about provincial boundary demarcation
  8. 8. METHODS (2)• Literature and media scan• Secondary analysis –i.e. census figures• In-depth interviews (100): – current and previous councilors – current and previous officials – business owners – security services personnel – provincial officials – community leaders• Focus Groups (300 community members): – Protestors and non-protestors
  9. 9. FINDINGS: REASONS FOR THE PROTESTSFREE STATE (FS) & EASTERN CAPE (EC) CASE STUDIES1. Poor governance • FS - no council meetings • EC – IDP accepted after 4 years2. Political in-fighting3. Deficient client-interface4. Ineffective management5. Poor housing administration & management
  10. 10. REASONS FOR THE PROTESTS FREE STATE (FS) & EASTERN CAPE (EC) CASE STUDIES• No coherent systems in place to measure service delivery or the quality of the client interface • An interviewee in Phumelela sums this up:• “If I had to rate the municipality by means of the guidelines used to rate the hospitality industry, I would give it ½ a star for water and electricity, and a 0 star for sanitation before the unrest. With the slight improvements since then, I can give it 1½ for water and electricity, and a ‘minus 5’ star, whatever that means, for sanitation.”
  11. 11. GAUTENG CASE STUDY – PROVINCIAL BOUNDARY DEMARCATION1. First 2 government notices – North West Province2. Submissions to Demarcation Board – Gauteng Province3. Gauteng Local Gov. Portfolio Committee – Gauteng Province4. Gauteng Legislature – North West Province5. Municipal Demarcation Board – North West Province6. Municipal Demarcation Board - Gauteng Province7. Parliament Portfolio Committee – Gauteng Province8. National Council of Provinces & Minister of Loc. Government – North West Province9. Constitutional Court - a political solutions should be found10. ANC (March 2009) – Gauteng Province
  12. 12. GAUTENG CASE STUDY SOCIAL UNREST CROSS-BORDER MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS Inadequate Lack of Political community appropriate inter- opportunismengagement governmental relations HISTORY OF UNCERTAIN HUMAN SETTLEMENT POOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
  13. 13. SOCIAL IMPACT OF THE PROTESTS Eroding social capital •3 persons Deteriorating• Education killed Dented levels of• Councilors • Hundreds relations mutual trust chased out injured between betweenof Khutsong • Many lost officials and community jobs politicians members
  14. 14. ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE PROTESTS• Damage to infrastructure• Public infrastructure = estimated USD 35 million• Private property = USD 5 million• Service payments dropped from 50% (2007) to 20% (2009)• Payment levels to Eskom dropped from 86% to 43%• Municipality spent USD 8,301.51 a month on relocated councillors (2007- 2009)
  15. 15. POLICY IMPLICATIONS – LESSONS LEARNED EARLY WARNING SIGNALS• Councilors & ward committees are in a better position to detect early warning signs• Difficult to be picked up by intelligence systems of local police
  16. 16. SOME EARLY WARNING SIGNALS INCLUDED… 1. High levels of non-payment and municipal cash flow problems 2. Absence of regular ward committee meetings – record keeping is essential 3. Continuous complaints about general service delivery 4. Ongoing gripes about certain individuals within a specific community
  17. 17. IN CONCLUSION…1. Correct process alone would have avoided the unrest2. Some opportunities for compromise not explored3. Institutionalize mediation to defuse tension4. Role of the media should be noted5. Political or legal coercion DOES NOT minimize conflict6. Understand; local in-migration patterns7. Rethink development approaches in small towns
  18. 18. THANK YOU!