South Africa: Service Delivery Gap - the Pros and Cons of Semi-Privatising South Africa's Failing Municipalities


A range of non-governmental roleplayers have stepped into the widening municipal service delivery gap, providing significant benefits for communities. But the risks of such privatisation must be carefully weighed. Clearly a fundamental reform of the civil service is required to mitigate against the crisis in the provision of public goods and service. It is in the country's interest to find a more formalised way for civil society and the government to collaborate.

Sean Gossel is Associate Professor in Financial Economics at the Graduate School of Business. Thomas Koelble is Professor of Business Administration, Political Science at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town.

The South African state is failing. This is not news to anyone. As far back as 2011 the National Planning commission identified a deficit in the capabilities of the state that it warned would undermine social and economic progress. Then came the Zuma years and a systematic hollowing out of state entities that has left the government essentially unable to fulfil its constitutional mandate. The situation is particularly dire at the municipal level where a large majority of municipalities are unable to provide the services they are supposed to provide according to the Constitution.


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