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The relationship between accountability and customer satisfaction in Sedibeng District Municipality, South Africa Dr. Loraine Boitumelo “Tumi” Mzini Senior.

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Presentation on theme: "The relationship between accountability and customer satisfaction in Sedibeng District Municipality, South Africa Dr. Loraine Boitumelo “Tumi” Mzini Senior."— Presentation transcript:

1 The relationship between accountability and customer satisfaction in Sedibeng District Municipality, South Africa Dr. Loraine Boitumelo “Tumi” Mzini Senior Lecturer North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus)

2 Content outline Introduction Problems Objective of the research Methodology Findings Recommendation Conclusion

3 INTRODUCTION This paper borders on two aspects of service delivery, namely local government accountability and customer satisfaction. South Africa democratic local elections (5 December 2000). The new paradigm of the democratic state emphasizes the role of accountability to citizens and customers. Local government accountability is seen as a strategic process of heating up local communities and a way of increasing their awareness of and expectations for local government authorities. The frameworks of local government accountability arise from the transition of South African local government, which is inspired by a vision geared towards the developmental role of local government. The aim is to "work with citizens and groups within the community to find sustainable ways to meet their social, economic and material needs and improve the quality of their lives"

4 OVERVIEW OF SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT There are three (3) (National, Provincial and Local) spheres of government in South Africa. South Africa is currently divided into nine (9) provinces. 279 municipalities. The respective municipalities can belong to one of three categories: metropolitan, district and local (referred to in the constitution as categories A, B and C). Metropolitan (category A) municipalities represent large densely urbanised regions that encompass multiple cities and so constitute a metropolis; for example the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area.

5 OUTLINE OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (SA) There are primarily rural areas, which are referred as district (category C) municipalities. District municipalities are the main divisions of South Africa's provinces; they are subdivided into local (category B) municipalities. Sedibeng District Municipality (SDM)= Emfuleni Local Municipality, Lesedi Local Municipality and Midvaal Local Municipality. Local municipalities share authority with the district municipality under which they fall. Local and metropolitan municipalities are subdivided into electoral wards.

6 RESEARCH PROBLEMS Municipalities are regarded as engines of growth, which are under great strain to meet the growing demands and aspirations of their people The problem of accountability arises from a desire to control a process of delegation. There are uncertainties about the coping strategies for the South African public service towards its willingness to implement the principles of the democratic state. Current service delivery protests in South Africa (brutal, mortality rate, roads barricade, loss of public service buildings-burning, distraction of services and roads).

7 Problems in SDM: Newspaper articles “Sedibeng and Emfuleni residents demand services” “Sebokeng residents protest against local government and no development” “Sebokeng residents blockade the Golden Highway” “Golden Highway blockaded in Orange Farm” “Charges against Boiketlong and Thembelihle activists dropped” “Vaal Region march against the lack of service delivery”

8 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES The study explores the effective and meaningful role of accountability and customer satisfaction in the local government especially in vulnerable neighbourhoods (low income households). The objective of the research was to: -Analyse the nature of the relationship between accountability and customer satisfaction; -Evaluate the internal and external mechanism applied to promote accountability and customer satisfaction; and -Provide recommendations to strengthen customer satisfaction and organizational performance.

9 METHODOLOGY Literature review from selected sources in the field of accountability, customer satisfaction and local government. Qualitative approach was adopted to realise the objectives of the study. Semi-structured interviews = questionnaires. The design of the questionnaires comprised of likert scale questions and Open-Ended questions. Sample =112 low income households in SDM. Field trips for data-collection required evidence from the consumers of municipal services.

10 Customer Service Level Residential Data Access to Facilities and Service Delivery Conditions Residential services Urban planning Emergency and safety Public transport Recreational facilities Corporate services Customer Service

11 ACCOUNTABILITY AND CUSTOMER SATISAFACTION RELATIONS Accountability is fundamental to good government. South Africa’s Constitution (Act of 1996) mandates local authorities to ensure that the provisions of services to local communities are in a sustainable manner. The institutional reforms in South Africa were aimed at rationalising the local government sphere and turning municipalities into effective and efficient service-oriented entities. The link between accountability and customer satisfaction is supported by the participation processes which enable democratic participation and civic dialogue. Good governance is further substantiated by the Inter-governmental relations and integrated development planning. The relationship between the two concepts is in a cyclical pattern

12 Tool showcasing the relationship of the two concepts Various tools are used to monitor the performance of local government for promoting accountability and customer satisfaction: The ‘CAR’ Framework Inter-governmental Relations and Integrated Development Planning Bathopele Principles Accountability Relationships

13 The ‘CAR’ framework (Grant and MacArthur, 2008: 3)

14 The ‘CAR’ Framework …cont The ‘CAR’ Framework: The key accountability relationships are between citizens and the holders of public office, and between elected politicians and bureaucrats. CAR Framework elements = capability, accountability and responsiveness, and form a virtuous cycle of good governance. Good local governance does not focus only on service delivery but it also strives to preserve the life and liberty of residents. The creation of communication channels enable communities to facilitate outcomes that can enrich the quality of life of residents.

15 Inter-governmental Relations and Integrated Development Planning Inter-governmental relations focus on the relationships between the three spheres of government. The three spheres of government are distinctive, interdependent and interrelated. There is direct authority relationship amongst the employees. Local municipalities in South Africa make use of the "integrated development planning" (IDP) as a method to plan future development in their areas. The IDP is an approach to planning that involves the entire municipality and its citizens in finding the best solutions to achieve good long-term development.

16 Bathopele Principles (people first) THE BATHO PELE PRINCIPLESCUSTOMER GENERIC DIMENSIONS ConsultationCredibility; Reliability Setting service standardsReliability; Competence Increasing accessTangible; Access; Security Ensuring courtesyCourtesy Providing informationCommunication and Customer Knowledge Openness and transparencyResponsiveness Redress- Value for money-

17 The ‘Framework of Accountability Relationships (Grant and MacArthur (2008: 6)

18 Accountability Relationships It is impossible to detach the existence of customers from the accountability process. Accountability to citizens and customers is demonstrated by a commitment to measure and report performance. The accountability of the new paradigm is citizen based, market driven, and distinguished by the concept of a relationship between administrators and the citizens and customers. Therefore accountability is an integral and indispensable part of establishing effective relationships for getting things done and taking responsibility, including when assigning authority and resources.

19 INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL MECHANISM TO PROMOTE ACCOUNTABILITY AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION Performance management (Internal) As a mechanism for feedback from policymaking activities it is used to measure the performance in the local government. Oversight committees (internal and external) participatory public policy-making participatory budgeting & public expenditure tracking, citizen monitoring and evaluation of public services Accountability Framework System (internal) The CAR Accountability Framework clarifies the responsibilities, expectations and reporting relationships for government’s senior executive officers. Government-Wide Accountability and Individual Accountability Complaints Management System (internal & external) Provide constructive ideas for improving governance practices and upgrading services.

20 EFFECTS OF LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY AND DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS Delayed service delivery; capacity and resources Lack of trust (resistance to vote: 2011 local government elections) Resistance to pay municipal services (water, lights, refuse), which results to high debt collection Infight by public servants and community members Loss of lives- high moratlity rate (brutal killings) Loss of public service infrastructure (temporary library in Bophelong) Loss of homes (burnt) for politicians These cases do not only happen to SDM it crosses to other provinces in South Africa:

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26 RECOMMENDATIONS Achieving high levels of customer satisfaction requires organizations to continually monitor and examine the experiences, opinions, and suggestions of their customers and people who are potential customers. Review performance management system Re-visit the strategic goals and the Millennium Developmental Goals Enforce Customer Relations Management systems Enforce public participation mechanism Public education and customer conflict management

27 CONCLUSION There is a link between the state and the citizen and this is witnessed by the new paradigm shifted from monopolised governance to good governance. Internal and external accountability exist in the local government context. It is evident that the involvement of citizens may enhance the municipal planning and decision-making process effectively. However, the performance and accountability of local governments are constrained by a gap that exists between the impact of customer satisfaction and organizational performance. Furthermore, municipalities often suffer from weak institutional capacity, limited resources and limited availability of information. Improving the quality of public services calls continuous planning and monitoring. Greater accountability can encourage responsiveness to citizens’ voices.

28 Thank you


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