Best and worst municipalities in SA

The South African Institute of Race Relations has released its 80/20 Local Government report, tracking the best and worst performing municipalities in South Africa.

According to the report’s editor-in-chief, Frans Cronje, the 80/20 report seeks to explore long-term shifts in local governance in South Africa over the past 20 years, which includes assessing the performance of SA’s 287 municipalities across 80 indicators.

“It is easy for the superficial analyst to emphasise either the socio-economic progress that has been made, or the failures of governance that are so obvious, and then to come to a simple conclusion on whether local governance in South Africa should be described as an example of failure and success,” Cronje said.

“This sort of shallow and naïve analysis also produces naïve conclusions such as that ‘better skills training’ and ‘improved delivery’ will solve South Africa’s local government problems. Reality is far more complex,” he said.

The data for the 80 indicators was sourced mainly from the Census 2011, published by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) in October 2012 and Gaffney’s Local Government in South Africa Yearbook, 2011–2013.

“We have always attempted to include the latest and most up-to-date information, but a cut-off point was inevitable. In general, the statistical data is from 2011,” the SAIRR said.

In order to gain insight into which municipalities are performing well and which are performing poorly, ten of the 80 indicators were used to rank all the municipalities. The majority of the ten indicators are service delivery indicators.

These indicators are:

  • The unemployment rate,
  • The proportion of people aged 20 and older who have passed grade 12,
  • The poverty rate,
  • The number of houses which are owned but not fully paid off,
  • The proportion of households that use electricity for lighting,
  • The proportion of households that have access to piped water inside the dwelling or yard,
  • The proportion of households that do not have access to piped water within one kilometre of the household,
  • The proportion of households that have their refuse removed by the local authority or a private company,
  • The proportion of households that have a flush or chemical lavatory, and
  • The number of households that have no lavatory.

Some 70% of the best performing municipalities are located in the Western Cape, while 80% of the worst performing are located in the Eastern Cape, the report said.

Best municipalities

# Municipality Province Score
1 Saldanha local WC 7.88
2 Siyancuma local NC 7.86
3 Overstand local WC 7.66
4 Umdoni local KZN 7.65
5 Drakenstein local WC 7.62
6 Mossel Bay local WC 7.61
6 Swartland local WC 7.61
8 Stellenbosch local WC 7.55
9 Gamagara local NC 7.54
10 Cape Town metropolitan WC 7.53

 Worst municipalities

# Municipality Province Score
1 Ntabankulu local EC 2.56
1 O R Tambo district EC 2.56
3 Mbhashe local EC 2.61
4 Mbizana local EC 2.73
4 Msinga local KZN 2.73
6 Engcobo local EC 2.88
7 Ezinqoleni local KZN 2.90
8 Amathole district EC 2.91
9 Emalahleni local EC 2.95
10 Port St Johns local EC 2.96

According to the SAIRR, the Alfred Nzo district municipality in the Eastern Cape has the highest poverty rate, at 79%, while the lowest rate among all the district municipalities is that of the Cape Winelands district municipality in the Western Cape, at 48%.

Out of all the district municipalities, Sedibeng in Gauteng has the highest proportion of people aged 20 and older with a grade 12, at 32%. The Alfred Nzo district municipality in the Eastern Cape has the lowest, at 13%.

The Western Cape again wins when it comes to unemployment, with the Cape Winelands district municipality having the lowest unemployment rate, at 14%. The Sekhukhune district municipality in Limpopo has the highest rate, at 51%.

Best and worst municipalities by province

Province Best Municipality
Score Worst Municipality
Score
Western Cape Saldanha 7.88 Laingsberg 6.60
Northern Cape Siyancuma 7.86 Joe Morolong 4.01
Kwa-Zulu Natal Umdoni 7.65 Msinga 2.73
Gauteng City of Joburg 7.49 Westonaria 6.19
Mpumalanga Govan Mbeki 7.43 Bushbuckridge 4.15
Limpopo Bela-Bela 7.26 Greater Tubatse 4.65
North-West Tlokwe 7.07 Ratlou 3.78
Free State Metsimaholo 7.04 Maluti-a-Phofung 5.61
Eastern Cape Nelson Mandela Bay 6.33 Ntabankulu 2.56

The IRR argues that service delivery in South Africa has not been the failure that many think it has.

Between 1996 and 2011 the total number of households in South Africa increased by 60%, or 5.4 million and the population by 28%, or 11.4 million.

In the same period, the number of households using electricity for lighting increased by 135%, or by 7.1 million.

The number of households with access to piped water increased by 82% or 5.9 million.

The number of households with access to flush or chemical lavatories have increased by 99% or 4.4 million.

And the number of households who have their refuse removed by their local authority by 90%, or 4.3 million.

“While accountability and the quality of management at local government level clearly leave much to be desired, the real problems confronting local authorities actually exist in the macro-economy,” Cronje said.

“The IRR has always believed that South Africa’s development goal should be to beat poverty and dependency levels by placing people in a position to
improve their own lives.”

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Best and worst municipalities in SA