The sixth South African Citizen Satisfaction Index (SA-csi) conducted by Consulta has put Cape Town on the top of its list for municipal service delivery and the level of trust from its citizens. However, the picture is far from rosy for South Africa, as the index recorded its lowest total score in its six-year history.
Cape Town takes plaudits with a pinch of salt
The overall “Citizen Satisfaction level” – as an average across all metros – has declined to its lowest level yet at 54.0 in 2019, compared with 61.9 in 2015. All municipalities have produced a lower performance from last year and despite Cape Town’s relative success, the Mother City is also down by 1.1 points over the past 12 months.
Professor Adré Schreuder is the founder of the SA-csi survey. He is not happy with the way standards have slipped over the past few years, lamenting the “chasm in decline” from 2015’s reading:
“The results show that expectations are very far from being met and that there are significant gaps in expectations versus the perceived quality of service delivery that citizens experience.”
“The delivery gap between what citizens expect and what they perceive has also widened compared with the previous year’s results, while comparisons with 2015 results show a chasm in the decline.”
The best – and worst – cities for service delivery in South Africa:
The ratings are given out of 100 and focus on whether citizens feel their expectations are being met. The researchers interviewed more than 2 500 people across eight municipalities to produce the results for 2019. Only Cape Town has a score above par with it’s 64.1.
There’s a near-nine point gap between CPT and its nearest competitor Ekurhuleni, which sits on a score of 55.7. That’s followed into third by eThekwini, which does itself proud in this survey with 55.5 – despite the current wave of protests that have gripped Durban.
Down into mid-table, and we’re looking Tshwane (51.3) and Nelson Mandela Bay (50.5) as the metros which can only be described as performing “at an average capacity”. Johannesburg slips under the halfway mark, recording a score of 49.9.
Then we’ve got the relegation zone: Buffalo City scored an unimpressive 43.4, but they’re kept off the bottom by Mangaung in the Free State. Their 40.5 is the lowest of the lot and lags almost 24 points behind Cape Town. The data also confirmed what has been frustrating residents across Mzansi the most:
- Water supply and management – 20%
- Water handling complaints – 14%
- Electricity and power – 13%
What citizens want from their municipalities
Professor Schreuder feels that citizens are being denied the basics of what is expected from a functioning municipality. He questioned the priorities of certain local governments, who don’t appear to be listening to their people:
“When you look at what the drivers are behind satisfaction levels, citizen mentions mostly related to basics such as water supply and management, electricity supply, garbage disposal, road maintenance and clean streets.”
“These are the basics of what citizens expect from a municipality – yet these are the areas that citizens most flag as their pain points. It is clear from the SA-csi results that in certain municipalities, service delivery is not the priority for the municipality”