News24

Service delivery a 'powder keg'

2010-05-25 21:22

Cape Town - Research company TNS Research Surveys warned on Tuesday that current high levels of dissatisfaction with service delivery levels make violent protests a "certainty".

The survey, conducted among 2 000 residents of South Africa's metropolitan areas in February, found more than half (52%) were unhappy with the service delivery they received from their local authority or municipality.

This was a very high figure and one indicating that "violence over a lack of service delivery is a certainty", the company said in a statement.

"Strike negotiators say that, when 30% or more of a work force are unhappy, there will almost certainly be strike or protest action.

"With levels of unhappiness over service delivery exceeding half the population, the likelihood of such protest action then becoming violent becomes highly probable," TNS said.

A study conducted in 2007 showed dissatisfaction levels at 27%.

That the levels of unhappiness had risen to 52% showed the problem of service delivery was now especially acute.

In addition, 51% said they had been waiting too long for basic services from their local authority or municipality.

Basic services

It was clear that all areas were well above the critical level of 30% unhappiness, with very serious flash-points likely in the East and West Rand and the Vaal Triangle/South Rand in Gauteng as well as in East London.

Not surprisingly, blacks, in particular, were the most unhappy with service delivery levels - 54% unhappy and 58% said they had been waiting too long for basic services.

Among the unemployed, 59% were unhappy about service delivery, and among those in squatter camps and informal settlements, the unhappiness level rose to 65%.

"Also, not surprisingly, it is the poorest of the poor who are the most unhappy, with as many as 80% of these people expressing unhappiness - a powder keg indeed."

But even the most wealthy were also unhappy (49%). This was most likely due to the ongoing power outages, water problems and billing problems at the very least.

The survey further found that 70% wanted illegal refugees living in South Africa returned to their countries of origin.