An assessment of the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for water service delivery : a case study of Ugu District Municipality.
Hlongwane, Ronelle Tania.
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This study provides an assessment of the role of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms at Ugu District Municipality in relation to the delivery of water services. Ugu District Municipality is located in KwaZulu-Natal’s lower south coast. A case study was used to measure the effectiveness of these mechanisms and their role in facilitating the monitoring and evaluation of water service delivery at Ugu District Municipality. A synopsis of local government restructuring and transformation at Ugu District Municipality is presented, with some reference on recent developments relating to restructuring and transformation in South Africa. The literature and policy framework for water service provision by municipalities provides an overview of literature on water service provision as well as a theoretical basis on which the study is based. The status of water services at Ugu District Municipality is outlined and emphasis is placed the pivotal role of partnerships between municipalities and the public, private sector, community and non-governmental organisations (CBOs and NGOs), this has been viewed as a fundamental route to be considered by municipalities in their efforts to resolve infrastructure backlogs and shortages. This study analyses the legal framework for water services provision to promote life and personal hygiene as well as the different legislation that paved way for the amendments and the smooth transition of the delivery of water services to poor, rural households to a peripheral issue into the South African Department of Water Affairs. The study highlights the need for water and sanitation services to be carried out in a manner aligned to the broader objectives of water resources management and instils the principles of cooperative governance which focus mainly on capacity building in all government spheres. It outlines the framework for oversight which includes monitoring, support and the role of the Department of Water and Sanitation if there is non-performance by provincial and local governments. The research design applicable to this study was exploratory in nature. A mixed methodology approach was employed and involved both quantitative and qualitative data collection. Interviews and surveys were the primary data collection instruments. Data analysis was guided by the application of thematic or content analysis. This enabled the researcher to obtain broader insight into the existing challenges that the municipality experiences with regards to water service delivery, and more insight into how alternatives could be introduced to promote more efficient water service delivery for the residents of Ugu District. Some of the challenges identified were that Ugu District Municipality is currently facing a financial crisis, ailing infrastructure and community perceptions that politicians and officials are not accountable to the residents for service delivery, such as water. These challenges present major implications for the municipality’s ability and responsibility to ensure that its mandate of water service delivery aligns with the prescripts of the South African Constitution, including those of the National Development Plan (NDP). The engagements between the researcher and the officials of Ugu District municipality revealed that monitoring and evaluation systems at the municipality are in existence however; to a large extent these mechanisms are not adequately implemented. This results in their ineffectiveness for the facilitation of water service delivery. The key challenge faced by Ugu District Municipality is ensuring that the delivery of water services is enhanced, particularly in rural areas. The key recommendations of the study suggest that the Ugu District Municipality needs to prioritize challenges related to improving monitoring and evaluation, staffing, ailing infrastructure and customer services on the agenda of its Integrated Development Plan (IDP). It is further recommended that Department of Water Affairs should play a supportive role by providing suitable interventions and strategies to monitor whether projects are being executed as planned.