An insight into the causes of poor service delivery in KwaZulu-Natal province : a case study of 8 municipalities in the northern region.
The socio-economic problems created by apartheid in South Africa are a huge challenge to the current government. In order to alleviate the above, Integrated Development Planning was seen as the most appropriate strategy the country could apply. There was need to introduce a new approach to planning which was integrated, democratic and environmentally sensitive. For the first time, planning became 'people focused' by introducing participatory processes. As a backup to the above strategy, government introduced a variety of measures to bring total transformation to local government to facilitate service delivery. The key actions taken were; restructuring of local authorities, provision of new legislative framework and various capacity support programmes. Ironically, ten years after democracy was achieved, the situation has hardly changed. Access to basic services is still poor, poverty is worsening and unemployment is on the increase. This fact has been confirmed by the 2001 census data, which generally reflect deteriorating standard of living. This has been the cause of the current widespread violent demonstrations by communities in the country. It is ironical that despite all the effort being put by the provincial and national governments, the desired goals are not being achieved. This raises the big question, 'What is going wrong?' Are there shortcomings within the structures and processes or programmes being undertaken? The above question can be answered by conducting a research to try and find the root cause of the problem. This would be carried out by way of scrutinizing the roles and responsibilities of major stakeholders in development namely, municipalities, sector departments and communities. Focus would be made on issues like cooperative governance, weakness within support initiatives, availability of funding, compliance with prescribed processes and procedures etc. The research aims to interrogate the causes of poor service delivery and possible practical solutions.