Government Performance Index 2019

The performance of local municipalities in South Africa is the indicator of the country’s heartbeat. Local municipalities are the closest institution to citizens; they reflect in great measure levels of citizen engagement - as recipients but also as contributors. In addition, local government shows, like no other indicator, the health of public institutions at the most atomised level. Local municipalities are universes, where the historic legacy of the country and the current democratic dynamics converge to give a clear picture of the status quo. The 2019 GPI is a continuation of GGA’s local government research, which began in 2016. This year, we were able to compare the state of South Africa’s municipalities with our previous index and we have found a significant variation in the municipal landscape, and some shifts within the rankings. In this analysis, we engage with the data in two ways. Firstly, in relation to the previous GPI, we were able to establish the progression or regression of the municipalities in matters of administration, economic development and service delivery. Second, our observations and comparisons led us to more substantive questions about the underlying reasons for poor performance that go beyond the commonplace. This paves the way for discussions about practical strategies for the improvement of local government, including raising awareness of universal governance principles for the public service, the bench marking of good practices against those in other countries, and once again, robust citizen engagement.