Service Delivery, Governance and Citizen Satisfaction: Reflections from South Africa


  • Mfundo Mandla Masuku University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Victor H Mlambo University of Johannesburg
  • Confidence Ndlovu University of Mpumalanga, Department of Development Studies, Mbombela



Governance, Public Sector, Service delivery, South Africa


This paper examines how satisfied households in South Africa (SA) are with the provision of public services by the South African government. The paper uses a secondary research approach where it uses data from a report published by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) titled the “Governance, Public Safety, and Justice Survey,” which is meant to highlight the government’s shortcomings and understand the perceptions of citizens concerning service provision. As a theoretical lens, the new public service approach is adopted to explain the conditions of governance in SA and to determine how and what needs to be done to achieve effective governance. The paper analyses key variables that affect the fundamental indicators of good public safety and justice governance.
The findings indicate that while efforts to enhance service delivery have been initiated and supported by policy, they have not changed the citizens’ perceptions of the state, e.g., there is still considerable mistrust in state institutions. Inequitable development and poverty continue to impede efficient public service delivery by limiting households’ capacity to access adequate public services, as well as by placing restrictions on the ability of local governments to extend services to high-cost informal settlements. This paper argues for promoting a holistic and integrated development plan that will guarantee inclusive public service delivery to all people, thus assisting in consolidating an environment where citizens trust the state and support it in its quest for inclusive and effective service delivery.


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