Unfulfilled Promises and Their Consequences: A Reflection on Local Government Performance and the Critical Issue of Poor Service Delivery in South Africa

"This policy brief addresses various dimensions of the public service delivery struggle, to assess what challenges there are in the delivery of basic services. It considers the issues of political campaign promises and the actual performance by municipal officials in fulfilling these promises. This paper has argued that as long as there is inequality of distribution of wealth between the poor and the rich, and the poor are still dissatisfied by the service delivered to them, South Africa will see yet more violent protests that might result in revolution in order to force the government to act. Government’s failure to realise the new developmental mandate of working collaboratively with communities to meet their socio-economic and material needs while improving their lives could cause serious instability. It is therefore imperative that government hold officials accountable for any abuse of power, and ensure efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency in the local sphere. Hence the necessity for an urgent intervention that could change the dire socio-economic condition of many communities is in need. This policy brief proposes that government, particularly local government, should start implementing the promises and provisions contained in the Constitution."