Metros scored: Survey reveals what residents really think


South Africans are not satisfied with their municipalities and have lost trust in them, as they have failed to deliver on the basics of public service delivery.

This is according to the seventh South African Citizen Satisfaction Index (SA-csi), which revealed that none of the country's major metros managed to meet their residents' expectations of service delivery.

The SA-csi for Municipalities 2020 interviewed 2,427 random interviewees across eight metropolitan municipalities – Buffalo City, Cape Town, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Johannesburg, Mangaung, Nelson Mandela Bay and Tshwane.

Cape Town emerged as the best performing metro, with a score of 66.0 out of a possible 100 – a two-point improvement on its previous score of 64.1 in 2019.  It is also more than 10-points above the par score of 55.7 for all municipalities, and well ahead of all other metros.

The municipality has recorded the highest score for the seventh consecutive year.

Ekurhuleni came second, with a score of 58.4 and an improvement of 1.7 on its previous score, while Ethekwini and Tshwane are on par with scores of 57.2 and 53.6 respectively.

The City of Johannesburg scored 51.4; Nelson Mandela Bay 49.8; Buffalo City 46.5 and Mangaung 38.9.

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Ineke Prinsloo, head of Customer Insights at Consulta, commented: "Overall, the results show that citizens' expectations of local government delivery of services are very far from being met with a  particular concern around the trend in the widening of the gap of expectations to quality.

"A major contributor to the below par performance is the negative perception of reliability of services.  While metropolitan municipalities conduct living standards and lifestyle surveys to assist them plan out their services better, the results of the index points to a greater need to utilise and optimise the data and research to ensure that skills and services are accurately planned and consistently delivered.

"The significant gaps in expectations versus the perceived quality of service delivery that citizens experience is a telling indicator that there is a pressing need for metros in terms of introspection, finding collaborative initiatives to review service delivery failures and to work consistently to turn the downward trend in the index to improve overall service delivery standards."

Participants flagged basics such as water supply and management, electricity supply, garbage/refuse disposal, road maintenance, clean streets and suburbs, and reliable billing/accounts as their pain points.

According to Ineke, of the almost 20 industry sectors polled by the SA-csi, the municipalities category has consistently fared the poorest since the inception of the index, with the lowest satisfaction scores across all sectors – which have remained on a downward trajectory year-on-year.

"The results pose an important question on whether service delivery is a priority for numerous municipalities – leadership in local government will have to take stock on these results to justify their existence to its citizenry.

"While Metropolitan councils may decentralise powers and functions and services, the accountability for decision making and following through on service delivery vests with the municipal leadership – the findings in the report should serve as warning signs that citizens are not experiencing this at the levels as they are expecting," says Ineke.

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