Citizen participation and water services delivery in Khayelitsha, Cape Town
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This study analyses the relationship between the manner of citizens’ engagement with the state and the level of service delivery they experience in their everyday lives, as residents of Khayelitsha. The phenomena of so-called ‘service delivery’ protests across South Africa have now become a fixture of South African politics. Khayelitsha is one of the sites with frequent protests in Cape Town and is inhabited by poor people, 70 percent of whom live in informal settlements. While the lack of municipal services is undoubtedly a major problem for many poor people in South Africa, thus far, few studies have been dedicated to investigate empirically this alleged link between service delivery and protest activity. The study utilizes mostly quantitative analysis techniques such as regression analysis and path analysis to discover the form and strength of linkages between the service delivery and participation forms. While residents of informal settlements and therefore poorer services were more prone to engage in protests and thus reinforcing the service delivery hypothesis, this relationship was relatively weak in regression analysis. What is more important than the service delivery variables such as water services was the level of cognitive awareness exemplified by the level of political engagement and awareness on the one hand and level of community engagement in terms of attendance of community meetings and membership of different organizations. In summary the study found relatively weak evidence to support the service delivery hypothesis and stronger evidence for the importance of cognitive awareness and resource mobilization theories in Khayelitsha as the key determinant of protest activity.