Cape Town – Seven of the country’s 10 best-performing municipalities are in the Western Cape, according to the Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR) latest report on local government
The 80/20 report, released on Monday, used 80 indicators to measure municipalities’ performance after 20 years of democracy.
Saldanha is the top performing municipality of the 278 in the country, according to the report, which mainly used the 2011 Census data.
While seven of the best municipalities are in the Western Cape, eight of the worst are in the Eastern Cape.
Author of the report and programme manager and researcher for the IRR, Georgina Alexander, said the unemployment rate, the proportion of people aged 20 and older who had passed Grade 12 and the poverty rate were some of the main indicators used to measure municipalities’ performance.
Other indicators include the proportion of households that use electricity for lighting, the proportion of households that have access to piped water within 1km of a household, the proportion of households that have flush or chemical toilets and households with no toilet.
The Saldanha municipality scored the highest for these and other indicators. Overstrand, Drakenstein, Mossel Bay, Swartland, Stellenbosch and Cape Town also ranked in the top 10.
These municipalities scored between 7.53 and 7.88 out of 10 for performance.
Alexander said six of the 10 main indicators were related to service delivery.
She said Cape Town as the biggest municipality in the top 10 had “an impressive record” because urbanisation meant the city had more informal settlements and many more people to deliver services to.
The district municipality with the highest household access to electricity for lighting is the West Coast in the Western Cape, at 94%.
The lowest is uMkhanyakude in KwaZulu-Natal, at 38%.
The highest levels of access to water are shared by the Central Karoo district municipality in the Western Cape, the Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) metro in the Eastern Cape, and the Sedibeng district municipality in Gauteng at 99% each.
The highest level of access to sanitation is in the Cape Winelands district municipality, where 92% of households have access to either a flush or chemical toilet. The municipality with the poorest access to sanitation is the Alfred Nzo district municipality, where 90% of households have access only to a pit latrine, bucket toilets, or no facilities at all.
Alexander said: “Local government is the first point of contact between citizens and the government. It is the sphere of government that has the most direct impact on the day-to-day lives of South Africans. The problems facing local government are vast, but three main systemic issues have been identified. The key problems are political appointment, lack of capacity and lack of accountability.”
She said the problem with political appointments was that some people were appointed without the proper skills or qualifications.
In terms of capacity problems, Alexander said there was a huge shortage of engineers for the important maintenance work on infrastructure.