Municipal distress : towards a municipal infrastructure and finance model : a case study of uMgungundlovu District Municipality.
Hlongwane, Nkululeko Terrence.
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The Constitution (Section 152, 1996) defines local government as a sphere of government responsible for the provision of sustainable municipal services to communities. Sibanda (2012) states that “poor and lack of municipal service delivery is widely receiving considerable media attention.” Monitoring customer-focused service delivery could therefore be a critically important means to affect value service delivery in local government.” The purpose of this study was to evaluate service delivery at uMgungundlovu District Municipality (uMDM), the root causes of municipal distress and propose an infrastructure and finance model for service delivery. The study will also critique the Local Government Turnaround Strategy (LGTS), MSA and the Municipal Financial Management Act (MFMA) on service delivery mechanisms. Local government in South Africa has been undergoing an unceasing bout of service delivery protests. Protests are a public manifestation of conflict and therefore this study uses the term conflict and protest interchangeably. Local Government is a key part of the reconstruction and development effort in our country. The aims of democratizing society and growing the economy inclusively can only be realised through a responsive, accountable, effective and efficient local government system as part of a developmental state. The establishment of a South African Developmental State is grounded in the vision of the State and Society working together at all levels to advance social justice, economic growth and development through an integrated development plan to advance service delivery. The complex process of service delivery is seen to be of national importance and requires immediate developmental solution through innovative service delivery models. It is also equally important to establish the reason behind lack of, or poor, service delivery, resulting into community service delivery protest. The uMgungundlovu District Municipality is serving as a mechanism mandated to ensure sustainable municipal service delivery and it is chosen as a case study for this research. Lack of access to most basic facets of infrastructure and economic development flagship projects are apparent in most municipalities in South Africa. The study revealed that national government grants are not sufficient in addressing service delivery backlogs. Timely delivery of municipal infrastructure is constrained by limited municipal resources therefore municipalities must form Municipal Service Partnerships (MSP) with the private sector. The study underlined the need for a holistic approach to development planning through a service delivery model, a well-structured planning and implementation strategy municipalities in fulfilling their mandate. The study makes recommendations that municipal services must be sustainable and municipal business models are at the core of sustainable service delivery. The study recognises the need for further research to expand the existing body of knowledge on how legislation impacts on service delivery.