Impact of urbanisation on municipal services delivery with particular emphasis on the provision of water in the Durban metropolitan area.
The main aim of this thesis was to explore the impact of urbanisation on the provision of water to the people of the Durban Metropolitan Area. The literature study revealed that urbanisation is proceeding rapidly and that the urban population in Durban will continue to grow and expand. Employment opportunities and enhanced service delivery in urban areas were two of the primary factors that attracted people to the city centres. The provision of water was identified as a growing priority in the new South Africa. It was found that whilst the privileged minority enjoyed first world lifestyles, the majority of people were poverty stricken and had little or no access to basic services. The literature as it exists reflects that local government is entrusted with a mammoth and crucial task in enhancing sustainable service delivery at affordable prices to impoverished communities. In light thereof, local government required a concerted strategy to address urban needs if it is to respond more effectively to its clientele and to the effects of urbanisation in the new millennium. The empirical study included the use of questionnaires to: - managers at the Urban strategy Unit; - managers at Durban Metro Water Services; and - two hundred subjects randomly selected from the Inanda/ Phoenix, Cato Crest / Cato Manor, Clare Estate / Reservoir Hills and Umlazi informal settlements. The data was analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings illustrates that an increase in urbanisation patterns has caused a decline in job opportunities and has added pressure to the local government infrastructure. The data revealed that the major obstacles to water delivery was accelerated urbanisation, lack of finance, high construction costs, high population growth rates, shortage of skilled labour, violence and crime and inadequate community participation. The empirical study revealed that people of all ages resided in the informal settlements. The majority of people were unemployed, generally had access to primary or secondary education and occupied menial jobs which were poorly remunerated. There is a need to create a National Commission on Urbanisation Development which can serve as an advisory body to government. This provision is universally recommended by urban geographers and government officials. This study calls for central government to play a more meaningful role in service delivery by strengthening the authority of local governments to raise adequate revenues to meet rising urban service needs. Central government must also provide technical assistance and training to local officials in improving tax administration, collection procedures and increasing revenues from existing and new sources. Local authorities need to improve their own performance in service delivery. This can be achieved if it has the capacity to act effectively and efficiently. Administrative structures and practices should be designed according to the services to be provided and the policies to be implemented. Furthermore, private sector involvement is crucial to ensure the provision of water to people, especially in impoverished areas.