The effectiveness of public service delivery : evidence from the uBuhlebezwe Local Municipality waste management system.
Tenza, Ndabezitha Selby.
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The global campaign around the sustainability of the environment has resulted in much emphasis being placed on actions that can save people and the environment. Waste management is vital in this era of sustainability and is of utmost importance to ensure a livable environment for the flora and fauna. The need to create a livable environment has continuously resulted in service delivery protests in South Africa. At the municipal level, there are increasing media reports of service delivery protests over the provision of basic utilities. Against this backdrop, the study examined the effectiveness of the service delivery at the local government level, with specific reference to refuse waste management. The focus area of the study was the uBuhlebezwe Local Municipality (BLM). The aim and objective of the study was to review the waste management practices at the BLM, highlighting the shortcomings/challenges and the discrepancies between policy implementation and management practices. The data for the study was collected through one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions. The face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions were used to elicit information from the municipal officials and community members respectively, to address the research questions and objectives. A total number of five municipal officials were interviewed, while a total number of 45 households were involved in the focus group discussions. In gathering information, the researcher compiled an interview guide: a set of questions that guided the interviews. Content analysis, which involved the use of coding, themes, and clusters, was used for the interpretation and analysis of the data; and the findings from the primary data were supported by the findings from the secondary data. The findings of the study indicated some degree of inefficiency in the municipal refuse management logistics system, which sometimes resulted in illegal dumping. The illegal dumping occurred as a result of the inability of the municipality to purchase a dumping site, due to financial constraints. The study also revealed the unreliability of the transport system in the municipality as a result of the frequent breakdown of the municipal vehicles. The lack of an efficient community participatory platform was also determined, and found to result in service delivery protests. The study recommends the need for educational awareness regarding health hazards, and a ‘reduce/reuse/recycle’ approach to refuse waste.