CHAPTER 3 MUNICIPAL SERVICE DELIVERY IN SOUTH AFRICA
Although this study is about a public participation framework, service delivery issues within municipalities essentially trigger it. Excluding this matter from literature review would render it incomplete. Therefore, literature review was divided into three chapters. This chapter provides a critical review of literature pertaining to municipal service delivery, whereas chapter 4 focuses on public participation issues. The chapter is divided into three sections as follows. After the introduction, section 3.2 presents the literature review, and section 3.3 concludes.
In this section, the current literature pertaining to public service delivery is critically reviewed.
Municipal service delivery
Municipal services are services that are funded with public money. This money is mainly obtained from the public who pay rates and taxes on the land they own and for municipal service deliveries, such as water supply, electrical supply, refuse removal, and sanitation services. In South Africa, these services are provided on a sliding scale with poor people paying less than wealthy ones. The State also allocates funds for certain basic requirements, but all of these come from public money. Service delivery entails distribution of basic resources citizens depend on, like water, electricity, sanitation infrastructure, land, and housing. Departments submit their budgets, planned service delivery programmes to the treasury, and funds are allocated to local governments for accountability and transparency (Office for Civil Society, 2014). The delivery of public services can take place through the state or on behalf of the state by a voluntary and community organisation (VCO) or a private sector company (Office for Civil Society,2014). A public service delivery entails contracting (includes contract management and delivery of services after the contract has been awarded), commissioning (drawing up a list of services on demand and allocating them to providers), procuring (doing the shopping of goods and services from providers) and tendering (choosing the best or cheapest company to supply goods or services). All these processes enhance the execution of duties by the officials and allows fairness in provision of public services (Office for Civil Society, 2014; Bovaird & Downe, 2008). Bovaird and Downe (2008) conducted a survey of municipal officials across Africa (south, east, and central Africa) and reported that the public involvement in the process of public services leads to perceived better services. However, they did not research the possible causal links between any of the constructs on which effective service delivery is based.
The Batho Pele principles
The aim of creating a better life for all and to motivate the right attitude and good governance resulted in the national government introducing the Batho Pele Principles (People First), a “tool” nested in strategies to enhance community participation and service delivery (Department of Public Service and Administration, n.d.). By adopting and implementing the Batho Pele principles of consultation, service standards, access, courtesy, information, openness and transparency, redress and value for money, local government has taken a step in establishing a professional customer orientated service. These constructs contained in the Batho Pele document should also feature in any framework or model which attempts to capture the complexities involved in service delivery issues.
Ababio (2004) compliments these principles as a new and holistic framework to make the aim more realisable, practical and beneficial to the internal and external customers of the public service. This is aligned to the Municipal Systems Act (No. 117 of 1998), section 16, which proclaims that a municipality must develop a culture of municipal governance that complements formal representative government with a system of participatory governance. This creates a platform for the public to participate in local government participatory forums called the integrated development programme and other strategic decisions relating to the provision of municipal services.
The initiatives of the Batho Pele Principles have been enthusiastically welcomed and received. It has become a brand name for improved service delivery to the local community. Ababio (2004) argues that the principles could not yield the desired results, because it has been “slow” in its implementation.
In view of the perceived gaps identified in the literature, a number of overall solutions were extracted irrespective of whether a country is a developed, a transitioning economy, or a developing nation. On this note, building the confidence of mutual-citizens and local government staff has a great importance to the positive outcomes of participation (Duffy et al., 2008). Firstly, the municipalities should examine the shortcomings and problems of citizen participation in public service quality improvement processes and develop it in accordance with citizen participation in the process of public service strategies that would provide the monitoring of the dynamics of civic participation. Secondly, in order to influence more public participation, the municipal government should promote cooperation between the community and community delegates so as to strengthen trust. Thirdly, information should be provided in such a way that it could reach all the residents and arouse greater enthusiasm among them to participate in local government. Fourthly, the public should be enabled to ascertain that they are indeed able to influence the quality of municipal services (Duffy et al., 2008).
There is need to organise more training for the local government officials, politicians and residents to clarify and use the opinions and preferences of the public (Savivaldybių, 2010). Moreover, the NGOs and gender-based organisations should be encouraged not only as an element of civil society for collective participation (Cornwall & Schattan, 2008), but also as fully-fledged participants in the local public services market (Warner & Hefetz, 2010). The municipality has to provide financial and technical assistance in the development of such organisations to influence public participation (Hall, Lobina & Terhorst, 2013).
Workforce turnovers (impacts on service delivery)
Workforce turnover impacts on service delivery and surveys conducted by the OECD/DAC (2009a; 2009b) on fragile nations like Armenia, Egypt, Congo, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Syria, Palestine and Pakistan showed that the countries’ local governments face high employee turnover. This was due to pressure from national conflicts, which in the context of this research are power struggles. In this light, the surveys viewed employee turnover as a gap that necessitates a revisit of the service delivery framework in such fragile nations.
On the other hand, the surveys reported high councillor turnover due to work-overload as the councillors attempt to meet the requirements of their positions. This signified a virtual collapse of municipal administration, with key appointments not being filled, making it impossible to continue with the daily functions of the municipality. Work overload in the municipalities of these countries signified a human resources gap, which adversely affects public participation and municipal service delivery. As a result, the surveys recommended that the countries should review the employment terms and policies at the municipal levels. Thus this necessitates a revisit of the municipal administration framework. The turnover of key municipal employees was further linked to strained relationships between the executives in the municipality and ordinary councillors. Partly, this signified power struggles and partly poor channels of communication from the municipal administration. Insightfully, it was deduced that strained relationship amongst the municipal employees arose from lack of a meaningful mechanism for councillors to influence decision–making, amongst others. This in turn, was used by the councillors to incite the public against the municipal executives, a fact that led to further power disputes. Analytically it can be deduced that the municipalities lacked transparency and accountability. So, this subset of problems further affected the performance of councillors in many municipalities. On this note, studies called for the restructuring of the municipal policy frameworks so that the public can also give their views regarding the performance of executives in the decision-making processes. Succinctly, the situation showed that the public participation framework on service delivery was ineffective, and hence needed to be revisited to achieve effective delivery of municipal service delivery.
Resource Gap: Cost
Studies associate lack of resources with ineffective service delivery (OECD/DAC, 2008). Despite increasing public participation in developing countries, studies noted that insufficient resources were provided to support the aspirations of government for greater public participation. Key among the notable gaps were inefficient infrastructural resources, such as a lack of constituency offices from which to operate, as well as a lack of administrative support (OECD/DAC, 2008). Consequently, this can lead to ineffective planning and delivery of services to the public. Therefore, the studies recommended that participatory practices must be carefully evaluated based on their costs and benefits, and public participatory arrangements should be chosen to suit to the particular area and level of public governance (OECD/DAC, 2008). This also signified the need to revisit public participation framework and service delivery so as to take into account unique challenges and needs of each municipality, rather than using a general costing approach.
The World Bank (2010) reported that public participation places a burden on the time and finances of participants. These costs are often overlooked; a serious omission because they directly influence who can take part (World Bank, 2010). Overuse of participatory processes may also discourage citizens from participation, as the costs of repeated involvement may be perceived as too high (World Bank, 2010). There are real costs to both administrations and to citizens. They can be carefully controlled, but they cannot be completely removed. The challenge, therefore, was to revisit the public participation framework to demonstrate that participation carries benefits that are worth the cost (World Bank, 2010). This is because the citizens may be discouraged if the impact of their contribution cannot be assured (World Bank, 2010). The need for the revisiting the participation framework is to ensure that the participants and the public at large are able to see that the participation process delivers what it promises (OECD/DAC, 2011).
Revisiting of the framework can further assist proponents of public participation to monitor the costs and benefits of using public participation in each case (OECD/DAC, 2011).
Lack of trust according to Nanz and Dalferth (2009) was linked as a contributing factor in strategic incoherence in municipal governance and service delivery the world over. However, the gap was more pronounced in corrupt countries as well as countries facing power struggles in the Asia-Pacific and Africa. The public from South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Congo, and Somalia did not trust the local government and thus they were not ready to engage with them (Nanz & Dalferth, 2009). As a result, there was an upsurge in lack of coherence between what the local government says and what it fulfils. The public officials also did not trust the central government to come up with sensible solutions to the local public’s problems (Nanz & Dalferth, 2009). Consequently, this explained isolated operations of local authorities in each country surveyed. Insightfully, this signified a lack of effective communication and cohesion in achieving comprehensive service delivery. This could lead to ineffective service delivery, and hence the need to revisit the public service framework so that it addresses cohesiveness and trust among municipal departments and officials towards achieving effective service delivery (Nanz & Dalferth, 2009).
The purpose of this chapter was to review the literature pertaining to public service delivery. Public service delivery entails contracting, commissioning, procuring and tendering, the processes which enhance the execution of duties by the officials and allows fairness in provision of public services; their possible causal links are yet to be investigated. The Batho Pele principles should be aligned to the Municipal Systems Act (No. 117 of 1998) to create a platform for the public to participate in the IDP and other strategic decisions relating to the provision of municipal services. The implementation has been “slow”.
Building the confidence of mutual-citizens and local government staff through citizen participation in public service quality improvement processes, training of local government officials, politicians and residents to clarify issues, encouragement of NGOs and gender-based organisations, and participation in the local public services market are important. Workforce turnovers, work overload, lack of resources (such as infrastructural resources) and luck of trust impact service delivery negatively. All these call for a revisit of the municipal policy frameworks and public participation framework for municipal service delivery.
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.4 RESEARCH AIM AND OBJECTIVES
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.9 OUTLINE OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER 2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.2 STAKEHOLDER’S ENGAGEMENT THEORY
2.3 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION BUDGETARY THEORY
2.4 PROJECT INTEGRATION THEORY
2.5 INTER-ORGANISATIONAL ICT-SUPPORTED REFORMS OF SERVICE DELIVERY THEORY
2.6 SYSTEMS THEORY
CHAPTER 3 MUNICIPAL SERVICE DELIVERY IN SOUTH AFRICA
3.2 LITERATURE REVIEW
CHAPTER 4 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN SERVICE DELIVERY
4.2 LITERATURE REVIEW
4.3 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
CHAPTER 5 THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5.2 THE RESEARCH PARADIGM
5.3 RESEARCH DESIGN
5.4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5.5 POPULATION AND UNIT OF ANALYSIS
5.8 DATA COLLECTION METHOD
5.9 DATA ANALYSIS
5.10 RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY
5.11 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
CHAPTER 6 DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS
6.2 DATA ANALYSIS FOR CITIZENS
6.3 ANALYSIS OF DATA – BUSINESSES
6.4 DATA ANALYSIS – MANAGERS
6.5 DATA ANALYSIS – WARD COMMITTEES
6.6 MERGED DATA ANALYSIS (CITIZENS, BUSINESSES, MANAGERS, WARD
6.7 MODEL TO OPTIMISE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION FOR EFFECTIVE MUNICIPAL SERVICE DELIVERY
CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
7.5 FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTION
LIST OF REFERENCES
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A FRAMEWORK TO OPTIMISE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION FOR EFFECTIVE MUNICIPAL SERVICE DELIVERY