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Service delivery: an elusive target - a case study of Nkomazi Local Municipality.

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There are arguments that South African local governments have been found lacking in terms of efficient and effective basic social service delivery. This study developed a conceptual framework as a possible solution to service delivery challenges in Nkomazi Local Municipality. The study was motivated by lack of solutions to persistent service delivery challenges in the local municipality. An interpretivist research paradigm was employed in the study resulting in the use of a qualitative mono method. The case study strategy was used to gather, analyse and use data contextualising it to a natural setting. Non-probability purposive sampling technique was used in the selection of fifty sample elements who comprised twenty-five senior municipal management, fifteen community members and ten owners of small-medium micro enterprises. Data was collected through face-to-face semi-structured interviews. The study established that a number of challenges exist that militate against the delivery of services in the municipality. It was revealed that the rural nature of the municipality has implications on almost all critical service delivery variables including: the municipality’s ability to raise funds for projects, to attract and retain qualified human resources. Findings in this study suggest that most of the conventional service delivery models applicable in developed countries and some of the metros in South Africa cannot be simply implemented in Nkomazi. The study recommended higher levels of innovation on the part of various stakeholders to resolve service delivery challenges in Nkomazi Local Municipality. There is a pronounced need for better levels of commitment in mounting appropriate interventions at local, district, provincial and the national spheres of government. More solutions and appropriate leadership are required in the municipality as a matter of urgency. The study confirms that existing theoretical models were not sufficiently address service delivery problems, thus, a conceptual framework was developed premised on the South African local government context. This can create further turmoil evidenced through protests which puts the municipality at an untenable situation. The findings of the study steer it to an intervention model that can be adopted to alleviate the service delivery situation.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.