Local government in South Africa plays a vital role in the functioning of the state. Often seen as the implementation arm of the South African government, it is also the governmental sphere that most commonly operates as the interface between the citizen and the state. Constitutionally, the core responsibility of local government in South Africa is service delivery. This encompasses ensuring that critical public services like water, sanitation and solid waste removal, are both accessible and of good quality. However, many municipalities have struggled to fulfil their mandate in both respects. Previous attempts by national government to identify and address the issues surrounding service delivery have highlighted the importance of effective Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) frameworks within local government to effectively identify and address these challenges.

By law, Integrated Development Plans (IDPs), which are detailed development plans that municipalities need to produce at the start of their elected term, are a key component of this system. Research by Good Governance Africa (GGA) indicates that while local municipalities are consistent in the submission of these plans, the quality of service delivery remains inconsistent.

Utilising GGA’s 2024 Governance Performance Index (GPI), this policy briefing informs policymakers, municipalities, civil society and citizens on how best to address this problem. GGA’s focus is to assess the current PME system in local government and provide recommendations on how to more effectively utilise the system to address poor service provision.

Stuart Morrison is a Data Analyst Intern within the Governance Insights and Analytics Team. He is currently completing his Master’s degree in e-Science at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. His thesis is focused on exploring the relationship between early elections and the propensity for political violence. Stuart also has a keen interest in applied data science and aspires to use his skills as a data scientist and researcher to help address some of the key security and governance issues across the African continent.

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Pranish Desai is a doctoral student in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His core areas of focus are in comparative politics and political methodology, with a specific interest in the politics of Southern Africa. Between 2021 and 2024, Pranish held several key positions within the Governance Insights and Analytics programme at GGA. In these roles, he was centrally responsible for the elevation and enhancement of the Governance Performance Index as GGA's flagship governance assessment tool. Before departing GGA, Pranish also played a key role in the development of our strategic framework for the 2024-2028 period.