Community Expectations and Perceptions of Municipal Service Delivery: A Case Study in a South African Municipality
AbstractThe new South Africa came into being in 1994 and has been a democracy for twenty years in 2014. The incoming government faced a significant task of transformation, requiring an effective public service capability. The lack of service delivery by South African municipalities has received considerable attention in recent years including the public expression of dissatisfaction with service delivery failure becoming an almost daily occurrence. According to the South African Constitution, the mandate of a municipality is to ensure service deliveries through satisfying citizens’ basic needs. Therefore, an understanding of customers’ expectations and perceptions is vital for any service organisation’s success. This study was conducted against the backdrop of the White Paper on Local Government that calls for the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner. This study sought to determine the community’s expectations and perceptions of the quality of service delivery by a South African municipality, in order to present findings and recommendations on the service quality gaps identified, for the benefit of municipalities in general. Based on previous theoretical discussions regarding customer’s expectations and perceptions, an empirical study was conducted to identify the most important service quality dimensions, using the SERVQUAL gap score. A quantitative research approach was employed, whereby a structured, self-administered questionnaire was used to gather data on the expectations and perceptions of service quality. A convenience sample of 400 residents of a South African municipality, situated in the Gauteng province, by means of mall-intercept, was taken. The collected data were analysed using paired t-test. The findings indicate negative perceptions of the quality of services delivered by the municipality. This article concludes with recommendations to municipalities and service organisations in general regarding the quality of service delivery.
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