Civil society research and advocacy groups dedicated to safeguarding the rights of citizens, may find an unexpected opportunity to monitor their own governments through the APRM process. This paper argues that, in a democratic state, citizens have a fundamental right to efficient public services. When public money is misused or poorly spent, it denies legitimate socio-economic benefits to the people. The point is tellingly and repeatedly illustrated by examples from the experience of local government in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province, where maladministration and inefficiency cost citizens dearly.