Impacts of municipal re-demarcations on service delivery in South Africa

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Mpfareleni Mavis Netswera


This paper examines the implications of municipal re-demarcations on service delivery through a case study of the Collins Chabane and JB Marks local municipalities in South Africa. The former is the result of a merger of two rural areas that were carved out of adjoining municipalities. The latter was established following the amalgamation of the erstwhile municipalities of Tlokwe and Ventersdorp, including the major centre of Potchefstroom. Thus, the two case studies are quite distinct in terms of racial demographics and history. Between 1995 and 2016, South Africa witnessed a significant reduction in the number of its municipalities, from over 800 racially based local authorities to 257 democratically elected municipalities. This trend reflects a belief that smaller municipalities are inefficient and not financially viable. However this study’s empirical findings, which were mainly obtained through a survey, suggest that mergers do not necessarily lead to improved local government capacity or efficient service delivery. The paper recommends further consideration of alternative models that can improve service delivery efficiency through voluntary cooperation or other collaborative arrangements.

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How to Cite
Netswera, M. M. (2022). Impacts of municipal re-demarcations on service delivery in South Africa. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (27), 17-36.
Research and Evaluation (peer-reviewed)


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