Happy Durban whiners

2014-05-07 00:00

ETHEKWINI has come second to Cape Town in a satisfaction survey of the country’s eight metros.

“It’s a great feat,” says Professor Adré Schreuder, founder and chairperson of the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) who undertook the survey, the first of its kind in South Africa. “eThekwini came higher than some of the country’s biggest metros, outdoing those such as Johannesburg and Pretoria.”

However it’s not all good news. Overall the results were not inspiring. Consumers of municipal services across the eight metros gave them an overall satisfaction rating of 60,6 out of 100.

The SAcsi surveyed 2 946 residents in a randomly selected, demographically representative sample of residents in the major municipal districts of Buffalo City, City of Cape Town, City of Johannesburg, City of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Mangaung and Nelson Mandela Bay.

Only two municipalities achieved higher scores than the average municipal satisfaction score. Cape Town’s score (71,6) was 17,8% higher than the municipal average. eThekwini’s score (65,2) was slightly — 7,8% — higher than the municipal average.

All the other measured municipal districts scored below the industry par: Ekurhuleni (-4,3%), City of Johannesburg (-5,4%), City of Tshwane (-5,5%), Nelson Mandela Bay (-11,9%), Buffalo City (-15,3%) and Mangaung (-17,1%).

Speaking to The Witness, Schreuder said there were more complaints received from Durban residents — 31,2 compared to 18,5 in Cape Town. Durban also scored badly when it came to the handling of these complaints — a 47,9 thumbs down out of a 100 compared to Cape Town’s 18,5 out of a 100.

Schreuder said there were four main areas of complaint in Durban, “The first was metering — the reading of water and electricity meters.” This was followed by complaints about the quality of water, the state of roads and the lack of cleanliness in the inner city. “There were also concerns over electricity supply.”

Overall the results show that almost 50% of South Africans have experienced some sort of a problem in their municipality, said Schreuder. While one in three citizens had taken the trouble to complain to their municipality about the problem, there was an extremely poor average level of complaint-handling efficiency of 35 out of 100.

Schreuder said the survey revealed low expectations amongst South Africans when it came to the services provided by their municipalities. “Municipalities should be concerned that even with low expectations, 47% of residents rate the quality of the municipal services as well below their expectations, with the exception of the City of Cape Town.”

“Municipalities need to treat citizens as clients,” he said. “At the moment their clients are just not getting the service they deserve.”

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