Metros fail to meet residents’ expectations

The riots in Tshwane
The riots in Tshwane

With only six days to go before the municipal elections on August 3 it has emerged that overall, voters in the eight major metros will be heading towards voting stations dissatisfied with service delivery in their areas.

Findings from the latest South African Customer Satisfaction Index (Sacsi) show all eight metros are falling short of their residents’ expectations of service delivery.

The overall satisfaction score of the eight metros is 59.5 out of 100.

This amidst election campaigning in which most political parties are focusing on broader national issues such as unemployment and not as much on local issues.

Professor André Schreuder, founder of Sacsi, says municipalities should take heed of residents’ dissatisfaction.

“Citizens are voicing their frustrations in increasingly violent ways. The data details what their biggest concerns are and where municipalities can make the greatest impact on the daily lives of their residents,” he said in a statement.

Low scores are also not a case of one bad year, but a three-year trend for municipalities.

Schreuder said not one of the eight metros is meeting all residents’ expectations.

Despite this, the Cape Town metro again came out tops with a score of 70.3.

Residents were asked about the quality of services, the gap between what they are expecting and what they are receiving, their confidence in government, and handling of their complaints.

Water problems, sewerage, stormwater drainage, electricity provision and maintenance of municipal infrastructure were some of the issues residents were asked about.

Shreuder says even though residents of Cape Town had higher expectations of their metro than the other municipalities, this metro still did the best when it came to meeting these expectations.

Residents of Cape Town complained the least about the quality of services.

Residents of eThekwini in turn had the least expectations of their metro. Confidence in municipal government declined for the third consecutive year in this metro. Furthermore, nearly 5% fewer complaints were received from residents this year – which Schreuder attributes to residents possibly having lost faith that their complaints will be resolved.

Tshwane residents’ confidence in their municipal government has decreased by two percentage points, although fewer complaints were registered.

Schreuder says the recent riots in Tshwane will likely further quell residents’ levels of satisfaction. In this highly contested metro, the ruling ANC can ill-afford these sentiments.

Service delivery protests have also erupted in parts of the metro earlier this year.

The Ekurhuleni metro had the biggest increase in complaints but the level of satisfaction has remained fairly stable compared to previous years. Most of the complaints were about water, the state of roads and electricity.

In the Johannesburg metro, residents’ satisfaction with services reached the lowest levels in years. Schreuder is of the view that the strike by Pikitup workers possibly had an influence on this.

The satisfaction of residents of Buffalo City with the quality of services showed the sharpest decrease – the lowest of all the metros, at 47.6. These residents were also the ones that complained the most.

Residents’ expectations of services showed a sharp increase in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro. Schreuder is of the view it possibly has to do with the change in municipal leadership. Satisfaction with services in this metro also improved compared to the previous year.

Mangaung residents indicated the quality of services has improved but it is still below the average.

According to Schreuder, Mangaung has shown improvement with fewer complaints and better handling of complaints.

How metros fared with levels of satisfaction
Cape Town – 70.3%

eThekwini – 61,4%

Tshwane – 59,5%

Ekurhuleni – 58,1%

Johannesburg – 54,7%

Nelson Mandela Bay – 54%

Mangaung – 52,9%

Buffalo City – 47,6%

Industry Average: 59,5%

* 2 679 respondents in the eight metros were included in the survey

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