Municipal governance under siege in South Africa: the comparative study of uMhlathuze and Mtubatuba local municipalities.
Khuzwayo, Terence Sibusiso.
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Many scholars in public policy are increasingly locked in the debate about the changing role of the state in meeting societal needs. This is amidst the spectrum of many perspectives on service delivery provision ranging from state-centric, market-centric, and citizen-centric approaches. While there is relative consensus on the need for the state to play a role in responding to the changing service delivery demands, there are stark differences in the literature about the nature, form, and texture of the role of the state. With the advent of the democratic government in South Africa, various state apparatus, including municipalities, are expected to play their significant role in responding to the changing societal demands as articulated in the 1996 Constitution. There is compelling empirical evidence to suggest that municipalities are under immense pressure to exercise their governance role amidst changing service delivery demands brought about by socio-economic and population dynamics, technological change, climate change as well as global pandemics. However, there is little understanding about how municipalities, given the wide array of perspectives, interpret and experience their governance role in responding to these changing service delivery demands. This understanding is critical to providing an empirical analysis of how different governance partners interface and relate to one another within the municipal space. This research project sought to respond to the gap in literature by bringing out the voices of key stakeholders within the municipal space into the governance conversation. These voices add flavour and colour to the unfolding governance conversation in a manner that not only enriches the debate but also suggests practical measures that assist governance systems for municipalities in South Africa.