- Title: The Failure of Decentralisation in South African Local Government: Complexity and Unanticipated Consequences
- Author/s: Andrew Siddle and Thomas A. Koelble.
- Country of Origin: South Africa
- Edition: 1st Edition
- ISBN: 9781919895055.
The Auditor General has just issued a damning report on the financial state of affairs in municipalities across South Africa. Protests against service delivery failure have become commonplace in this country and constitute perhaps the most serious challenge this young democracy has yet faced. So just what is the problem?’
The aim of this book is to promote an understanding of the difficulties that confront local government in South Africa and the causes of its failure. It does not presume to provide the answers to the crisis; instead, it encourages debate by posing a number of questions about the future design for local government and suggests that a far simpler model which imposes less complex demands needs to be considered.
‘..perhaps the most thorough and systematic study of local government in South Africa to date. It is an original and important book’ Professor Philip Oxhorn, Professor of Political Science, McGill University
‘…far and away the best study available of a major problem with democratic decentralisation – the dangers that attend overloading elected local councils in developing countries with technocratic tasks. South Africa is THE classic example of this problem, and this text is THE classic study of that case.’ James Manor, Emeka Anyaoku, Professor of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London
The failure of decentralisation in South African local government: complexity and unanticipated consequencesexamines the design of the local government framework and its contributing role in the crisis. It identifies 12 ‘dimensions of decentralisation’ and studies the extent to which these dimensions are incorporated in the South African local government framework. Through empirical research conducted at 37 municipalities across the country, this study finds that municipalities are frequently incapable of meeting the demands imposed upon them by a highly complex model of local government. This complexity, coupled with the absence of essential conditions for success and the presence of a number of threats which are commonly identified in decentralised systems, leads to the failure of policy and the erosion of sound local governance.