The Transformation of local government service delivery in South Africa: The failures and limits of legislating new public management
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Apartheid local government failed to deliver services to the people of South Africa. Instead, it created huge spatial/settlement distortions, economic disparities, skewed urban economic logic, and massive service and infrastructure backlog. This was not the case in apartheid white local government owing to the fact that it was built, partially, on the Weberian model of bureaucracy. With the end of apartheid and the re-incorporation of previously excluded communities into the mainstream of the civil service, there was an urgent need for rapid delivery of services in order to rectify the ravages of apartheid. However, the usefulness of the Weberian model in efficiently delivering services was open to question. Its continued insistence on qualifications and practical experience would have perpetuated the exclusion of the African majority who had been denied participation in the political and economic life. The Weberian bureaucracy, therefore, stood in the way of the new democratic government's intention to transform and deracialise the public service. As a result, the New Public Management (the NPM) was introduced as a policy in both the upper spheres and local government with the aim of ensuring rapid service delivery and deracialising public administration.
- Doctor Legum - LLD