Original Research

The role of district municipalities in service provision in South Africa: Dissecting challenges faced by Ehlanzeni District Municipality

Douglas N. Magagula, Ricky M. Mukonza, Rasodi K. Manyaka, Kabelo Moeti
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 10, No 1 | a628 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v10i1.628 | © 2022 Douglas N. Magagula, Ricky M. Mukonza, Rasodi K. Manyaka, Kabelo Moeti | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 January 2022 | Published: 28 July 2022

About the author(s)

Douglas N. Magagula, Department of Public Affairs, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Polokwane, South Africa
Ricky M. Mukonza, Department of Public Affairs, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Polokwane, South Africa
Rasodi K. Manyaka, Department of Public Administration and Management, Faculty of Humanities, University of Mpumalanga, Mbombela, South Africa
Kabelo Moeti, Department of Public Affairs, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Polokwane, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: District municipalities are faced with numerous challenges that hinder their ability to execute the legal mandate of assisting local municipalities to deliver services to their communities.

Aim: This article explored two critical issues: political challenges faced by districts in the recruitment of personnel in key positions and the financial status of districts in relation to their role in local government.

Setting: The study is based in the Ehlanzeni District Municipality, Mpumalanga Province. The study also included local municipalities within Ehlanzeni District (City of Mbombela, Nkomazi and Bushbuckridge local municipalities); South African Local Government Association; and the Mpumalanga Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

Methods: The study adopted a qualitative research method, and data were collected through semi-structured interviews.

Results: Literature and the study findings revealed that cadre deployment in key positions has contributed to the shortage of skilled personnel in municipalities. The findings also showed that Ehlanzeni District Municipality is not adequately financed to be able to execute its legal mandate.

Conclusion: The study recommended that cadre deployment in key municipal positions should be aligned with legislated recruitment policies. Moreover, communities need to start paying for services that they receive so that municipalities may have more revenue to maintain infrastructure, to ensure continued service delivery.


Keywords

local government; service delivery; Ehlanzeni District Municipality; revenue base; cadre deployment

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