Assessing the impact of integrated service delivery on poverty and employment creation: a case study of Operation Sukuma Sakhe in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.
Macwele, Benedict Mathole.
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Following the declaration of War on Poverty campaign by former president Thabo Mbeki in 2008, a number of provinces engaged in a process of aligning their long and short-term service delivery objectives with those of the campaign. In KwaZulu-Natal this engagement produced what is today known as Operation Sukuma Sakhe (OSS). OSS came into existence in 2009 and it aims to fast tract services delivery by promoting participatory democracy where the gap between government (service providers) and KwaZulu-Natal citizens (end-users of services) is significantly reduced. OSS, inter alia, promotes integrated services delivery, integrated planning and participation of end-users of government services in decision-making. The provincial government, district municipalities, local municipalities and wards each form the structure of overall arrangement of OSS. The Youth Ambassadors and Community Care Givers are the foot soldiers in OSS and their role is mainly to profile households in order to identify community needs. The study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of OSS as a mechanism used to address poverty and unemployment in KwaZulu-Natal. The findings of this study suggest that all the OSS structures have already been set-up in the EThekwini Municipality but are marred with operational challenges such as absenteeism of key stakeholders, lack of necessary resources and other deficiencies and challenges. Indeed OSS has contributed meaningfully to job creation as there are Youth Ambassadors who are employed and given about R 1500 monthly stipend. OSS can also be commended for reducing the severity of poverty in the Municipality where poverty alleviation projects are afoot such as the One Home One garden campaign and communal gardens just to name a few. What transpired from the focus group discussions with different focus groups that form part of the study sample is that OSS is a viable model but it still needs to be reform especially in terms of creating a monitoring and evaluation unit and a system of accountability to ensure that members behave in acceptable standards.
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