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Exploring the role of service delivery and its impact on the functionalities of women in Njane and Ntshaseni communities of the Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality (ULM) in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Service delivery in most South African rural areas is neither efficiently nor equitably distributed. This makes residents receive poor quality services which are often unavailable. Feminist geography is concerned, among other things, with how gender and geography determine the welfare of communities. This study looked at service delivery from a geographical dimension of rurality and remoteness and connected this to gender-based service perceptions. The first paper looked at service delivery ratings of men and women in two rural communities in the same municipality-the Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality (ULM) in KwaZulu-Natal. These communities are remote in terms of distance from major urban centres. The study utilised a quantitative research approach, with a sample of 200 residents from Njane and Ntshaseni. The study was designed as a comparative descriptive study. The first objective of the study was to assess men and women's ratings on the provision of such services as road, healthcare, education, water and sanitation, and electricity. The second objective was to compare the relationship between water and energy services delivery and women's domestic workload (WDW) in the two communities. The second paper used a sample of 127 and used a descriptive approach to analyse data on water and sanitation and electricity and used secondary data that was collected in previous studies on the two communities and analysed this on SPSS and Microsoft Excel. The research findings have revealed that women rate service delivery quality and availability very lowly compared to men. Women’s low ratings revealed that service delivery quality and availability affected them differently from men, with regards to healthcare, water and sanitation, and electricity services. The research findings have also revealed that women are heavily burdened by lack of water and electricity in Njane and Ntshaseni communities, leading to increased domestic workloads. The study recommends a nexus of geography and gender in dealing with service delivery challenges. Local governments need to provide gender-sensitive service delivery in remote communities. This approach would reduce geography and gender service delivery disparities, and relieve poor rural women from back-breaking domestic labour.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.