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Citizens not satisfied with municipal services

By Staff Writer
South African consumers are not satisfied with municipal services from eight of the country’s largest metropolitan municipalities. This is according to the latest report released by the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) which examined citizen satisfaction for the third quarter of 2015.
 
While municipalities scored higher than last year’s 60.8 out of 100 in the survey, the current score of 61.8 out of 100 indicates that while it has improved, citizens are still not impressed with the service that they receive.
 
The national trust survey, however, revealed better results with a score of 65.1 out of 100, which is higher than last year.
 
Professor Adré Schreuder, founder of SAcsi and CEO of Consulta, noted: “Overall the national trust index score is slightly higher this year at 65.1, which means that citizens are a bit more trusting of what they are hearing from municipalities, likely as a result of delivery on promises.”
 
The satisfaction survey
 
SAcsi explained: “The SAcsi surveyed 3059 residents in a randomly selected, sample comprising residents in the major municipal districts of Cape Town, eThekwini, Tshwane, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay, Mangaung and Buffalo City.”
 
According to the results, Cape Town received the highest score, with 71.9 out of 100, much higher than the average of 61.8. eThekwini municipality also scored higher than the average, with 65.4. However, the other municipalities surveyed scored below the average. Tshwane was awarded 61.5, while Johannesburg received a score of 60.2, Ekurhuleni scored 58.3, Nelson Mandela Bay received 51.8, Mangaung scored 51.5 and Buffalo City received the lowest score with 47.1 out of 100.
 
The trust survey
 
On the trust survey, Cape Town again ranked higher than the other municipalities that were surveyed, with a score of 72.6 out of 100. The other municipalities’ scores were as follows:
·         eThekwini – 67
·         Johannesburg – 65.9
·         Ekurhuleni – 63.5
·         Tshwane – 63
·         Nelson Mandela Bay – 58
·         Mangaung – 56.1
·         Buffalo City – 50.3
 
However, Schreuder warned that citizens expectations are higher this year, meaning that municipalities have a higher standard to live up to.
 
“Campaigning ahead of the municipal elections next year is likely to push expectations even higher, so municipalities need to put mechanisms in place to ensure that they can deliver on the promises they make to citizens. Already, the gap between expectations and delivery on quality is very wide, with Cape Town emerging in the study as the only municipality which comes close to meeting its citizens’ expectations. Municipalities which scores below par (Nelson Mandela Bay, Mangaung and Buffalo City) recorded very low reliability scores,” said Schreuder.
 
What the public expects
 
Furthermore, the survey revealed that the level of complaints in municipalities is higher than in other industries. According to the report, one in three respondents reported that they had experienced some sort of problem with their municipality’s services.
 
Schreuder pointed out that the top three issues within municipalities are:
1.       Keeping municipal areas neat and tidy,
2.       Maintaining existing infrastructure, and
3.       Providing reliable services.
 
“The verbatim comments from respondents lead us to conclude that citizen-centricity, reliability and trust that services will be delivered as promised are essential. As much as these comments feature as positive statements about better performing municipalities, citizens in the worst performing municipalities complain about the lack of delivery of municipal services such as refuse removal, deteriorating roads, problems with storm water drainage pipes and providing clean drinking water,” noted Schreuder.
 
In addition to these results, Consulta conducted a public opinion poll among 1 700 ConsultaPanel respondents, which revealed that “98% of South Africans want improved services from their municipalities in the areas of infrastructure and other basic services which they perceive their tax contribution should be covering.”

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