Original Research

The quest for service delivery: The case of a rural district municipality in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa

Mulatu F. Zerihun, Mariann P. Mashingo
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 10, No 1 | a512 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v10i1.512 | © 2022 Mulatu. F. Zerihun, Mariann P. Mashigo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 November 2020 | Published: 17 February 2022

About the author(s)

Mulatu F. Zerihun, Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Finance, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
Mariann P. Mashingo, Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Finance, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: In South Africa, poor service delivery has been a major problem in many municipalities, partly because of corruption, political patronage and skills deficits at local administrative levels.

Aim: This study aimed to critically assess the extent of service delivery deficit and find ways to improve service delivery in the study area and beyond.

Setting: This study is framed on the ideals of theory of social contract that states the relationship between the state and society. In this line, this study highlights Weber’s theory of bureaucracy and the new public management (NPM) that gets its theoretical foundations from public choice and principal–agent theories.

Methods: The study used primary data collected from 120 respondents. A descriptive quantitative method was used using questionnaire and content analysis of official documentations.

Results: The study finds that residents in the study area are not satisfied with the level of current municipal services provided. In addition, the study reveals that the municipality does not generate enough funds because of non-payment for the services rendered that will substantially reduce basic municipal services provision. Furthermore, contrary to the common belief that rural municipal residents demand free services, this study finds that residents are willing to pay modest fees for the quality services rendered.

Conclusion: The residents in the Dr JS Moroka Local Municipality (DR JSMLM) value essential services such as water and electricity more than other services. The status of service delivery in the municipality is rated poor. However, the residents still believe that there are possibilities for the improvements in the service delivery if the municipality adheres to its Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the years ahead.


municipality; rural district; service delivery; Mpumalanga province; South Africa


Total abstract views: 2907
Total article views: 8095


Crossref Citations

1. Turnaround for municipal distress resolution: An audit outcomes approach
Mariska McKenzie, Ben Marx
South African Journal of Accounting Research  vol: 38  issue: 2  first page: 174  year: 2024  
doi: 10.1080/10291954.2023.2294536