A recent report by Stats SA shows that KwaZulu-Natal citizens aren’t happy with government services.
The research shows people 15 years and older are dissatisfied with the overall performance of the provincial government.
Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke recapped the customer commissioned survey.
Presenting the report to the special sitting of the executive council, statistician-general Pali Lehohla said it was found that access to water, electricity and sanitation had improved in the province between 2002 and 2014.
“All are heading north positively,” he told the top government officials, MEC and mayors.
Access to piped water improved from 76% to 87%, while electricity moved from 69% to 82. Sanitation stood at 76%, up from 51% in the same period.
Lehohla also said poverty had been reduced, especially in Msinga and Mhlabuyalingana, where it was reduced from 60% to 40% and halved respectively.
“In terms of poverty levels, things have changed much more for the better,” he said.
Lehohla said unemployment and lack of education were drivers of poverty in the province and the country.
However, Lehohla said more than a third, 36%, of KZN residents who were interviewed were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with provincial government against 33% who were very satisfied.
“When you look at local government, you see lower levels of satisfaction compared with provincial government,” he said.
Independent political analyst, Thabani Khumalo, today told the Daily News the survey found a mismatch between government and community priorities, which pointed to poor communication between the government and the people.
“The government is failing to deliver exactly on what the people want on the ground. They give what they can afford to provide rather than what the people want,” he said.
Khumalo said the survey would give savvy politicians ammunition to target their campaign strategies on areas of dissatisfaction in the province. “For any party to run a successful campaign, it has to deliver a campaign on local needs,” Khumalo said.
“The survey is supposed to be a springboard to develop effective campaign strategies,” he said.
The survey found the proportion of people who were strongly dissatisfied with the provincial government was highest among Africans (38%), with whites at 32%; Indians 20%; and coloureds 10%.
“Dissatisfaction among blacks is not misplaced because of the instance of inequality,” Lehohla said.
The report said dissatisfaction was highest in four of the 11 districts: Umkhanyakude, Zululand, uThukela and Umzinyathi.
It also said satisfaction levels were lowest among people with no education and highest among those with high school education and above.
“The data shows that satisfaction with the level of services rendered by the provincial government is low among people from low income households and high among persons from high income households.”
He said the survey found that job creation and housing provision were ranked most and second-most important by the residents. “Citizens rank housing as priority. This is an interesting priority,” he said.
“If employment is a priority, education, it is assumed, would be close,” he said.
Premier Senzo Mchunu said his administration put a high premium on the information collected by StatsSA.
“It directs us in terms of what to do going forward, what it is people are concerned with as opposed to what we think is a priority,” he said.
Mchunu said if 33% of people were outright satisfied and another 31% somewhat satisfied, it meant the provincial government was doing something of value.
“We can’t sit down and clap hands and say everything is done. We will continue to work hard for the citizens of KZN,” he said.
“We will make sure all their concerns are addressed and ensure we drive satisfaction levels higher, and, of course, partnering with local government, we will do our work to the best of our ability,” Mchunu said.
Lehohla said the province had held up a mirror to itself and could confidently say how it looked.
“It has provided a platform from which you can address the challenges and aspirations of the people of KZN. It is the only province that has this mirror and others don’t,” Lehohla said.
He said the survey provided a platform for a conversation in the wake of the dissatisfaction levels despite the delivery levels in services.