A critical analysis of local municipal capacity towards fulfilling their basic municipal services mandate
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According to the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act (32 of 2000) (Systems Act) a basic municipal service is defined as “a municipal service that is necessary to ensure an acceptable and reasonable quality of life [which], if not provided, would endanger public health or safety or the environment”. Failures in service delivery have led to municipalities becoming significant contributors to environmental pollution in South Africa. In light of these failures, this research investigates the capacity of local municipalities to fulfill their basic services mandate. Sufficient capacity can be defined as the ability of a local municipality to continually provide basic services to consumers, the provision of a sound policy and legislative context for service delivery, and the ability to maintain institutional capacity. A multiple case study approach was used to evaluate the service delivery capacity of six local municipalities in the North West Province of South Africa. The primary data sources used were municipal institutional data obtained from municipalities, data available in the public domain and data available from national databases. The legal mandate of local municipalities was used as a basis for determining a set of capacity review criteria that were applied across the six cases. The results show that although local municipalities are mandated to provide basic municipal services, they lack sufficient capacity to effectively deliver on this mandate.