Despite clear constitutional and legislative provisions for the composition,
functioning and development of local government in South Africa, the
rendering of essential services, particularly to the poor and disadvantaged
communities eleven years after the establishment of a true democracy in
South Africa, appears to be still highly problematic for some municipalities. In
fact, the recent wave of unrest at the local sphere of government in South Africa
questions the ability of municipalities to provide basic services such as housing,
sanitation, electricity and water to local communities.
This article focuses on past and present dilemmas in municipal service delivery,
as well as the possible underlying reasons why some municipalities find it difficult
to provide basic infrastructural services to local communities. Bearing in mind the
principal overarching provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,1996 and related legislation and policy frameworks for local government, this article proposes a hypothetical model for the reform and improvement of municipal service delivery. This model, which has a generic character, could serve as a useful guide or instrument to municipalities in their quest for change within a transformed society.