Since 1994, development policy and practice in South Africa have evolved
significantly within the local government sphere. The reduction of poverty,
inequality and unemployment, as well as improved service delivery, remain some
of the key focus areas for policy development and intervention in South Africa.
This article examines the policy initiatives undertaken by government regarding
the Local Government Turn-around Strategy (LGTAS) initiative, including past and
current policies relevant to the LGTAS such as the Reconstruction and Development
Programme (RDP), the Growth, Employment and Redistribution Programme
(GEAR), the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA),
the New Growth Path (NGP) and the National Development Plan (NDP). The
LGTAS is a response by government to restore local government’s ability to fulfil
its developmental mandate as contained in the Constitution (1996). Although it
can be argued that the strategy has good intentions and is well formulated, it is
the implementation of the strategy that remains a challenge. The extent of success
achieved through the implementation of the LGTAS, using the Fezile Dabi District
Municipality (FDDM) as a case study, is investigated.
The analysis includes interviews with relevant officials from FDDM, who are
involved in the process, as well as an analysis of LGTAS reports of the Free State
provincial administration regarding the FDDM. Results from the analysis indicate that
only limited success has been achieved through the implementation of the LGTAS.
This article provides some solutions to improve the implementation of the LGTAS,
as well as solutions for improved service delivery at the local government sphere.