Local government, being the government closest to the people, has a constitutional obligation to render a variety of services which include basic essential services such as housing, sanitation, electricity and water, especially in the poor and disadvantaged communities. With the recent wave of unrest at the local sphere of government in South Africa, numerous questions have been raised about government's ability, or inability, to provide such basic services. Concerns have also been raised about the possible effects of the unrest on the long term stability of South African democracy.
This article focuses on the current state of unrest at the local sphere of government in South Africa, as well as the possible underlying reasons why some local communities are dissatisfied with local government services delivery. Against the background of the principal overarching provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and related legislation and policy frameworks for local government, a hypothetical process model for the implementation of policies and programmes for local government service delivery is proposed. This model could serve as an instrument to address the short to medium term problems presently experienced at the local sphere of government.