8 out of 10 top-performing local municipalities are in the Western Cape

logoMunicipal IQ’s updated Municipal Productivity, Compliance and Governance and Hotspots Monitor results.

Western Cape and Gauteng municipalities remain typically the best managed and most competitive in a year ridden with protests (setting a new record high)

Background: Municipal IQ, a specialised local government data and intelligence organisation, has released key findings from its eighth annual set of results on its Municipal Productivity Index (MPI™) and the sixth set of results from its Compliance and Governance Index (CGI).

The MPI combines financial and non-financial data to assess the ability of individuals to engage with local economies; do residents live in acceptable conditions, how vibrant is the local economy and how is a municipality contributing to this? The CGI focuses on how well municipalities are meeting basic legislated planning and reporting requirements, as well as reflecting on their financial management and capacity levels.

Key trends for 2014: 2014 MPI results show a slight deterioration from 2013, but with the same provincial ordering once again emphasising the dominant role of Gauteng and Western Cape local economies, reflecting the role of larger cities and metros across South Africa. Encouragingly, CGI results show gradual governance and compliance improvements in most municipalities, but with deterioration in Eastern Cape metros and Limpopo municipalities of concern.

Kevin Allan, MD of Municipal IQ, notes: “While there has generally been an improvement in compliance outcomes and capacity levels, in struggling municipalities this is typically off a low base and not at the rate that is needed, with too many cases of individual underperformance, typically in areas that are the most developmentally disadvantaged; namely, former homeland and rural areas”.

Karen Heese, Economist at Municipal IQ argues: “Dropping expenditure in the 2013/14 financial year impacted negatively on MPI scores, suggesting that recessionary pressures impacted negatively on revenue and as a result, expenditure which is needed to meet the considerable challenges of backlogs in both urban and rural contexts”.

Performance of municipalities by province: All provinces slipped slightly off 2013’s MPI scores, largely due to deteriorating spending, but improved slightly on the CGI. Average provincial scores on the MPI shows that Gauteng municipalities narrowly outperform the Western Cape average (see Table 1), notwithstanding top Western Cape performers (see Table 4). The Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal continue to score the lowest MPI averages (in 8th and 9th place, respectively).

On the CGI, Western Cape averages are slightly better than those of typical Gauteng municipalities, while excellent performance by KwaZulu-Natal municipalities, especially on audit outcomes, puts the province in third place (see Table 2). Under-performance in North West and Limpopo municipalities on the CGI is of particular concern and reflects numerous local government crises in the two provinces.

Table 1. MPI scores, provincial averages for 2014

MPI Rank 2014 Score National ave.

Gauteng 1 52.8 41.3
Western Cape 2 51.7 41.3
Northern Cape 3 44.4 41.3
Free State 4 43.4 41.3
Mpumalanga 5 42.9 41.3
North West 6 40.4 41.3
Limpopo 7 38.3 41.3
Eastern Cape 8 36.9 41.3
KwaZulu-Natal 9 36.0 41.3

Table 2. CGI scores, provincial averages for 2014

CGI Rank 2014 Score National ave.

Western Cape 1 91.4 77.7
Gauteng 2 87.3 77.7
KwaZulu-Natal Northern Cape 3 82.4 77.7
Mpumalanga 4 78.8 77.7
Free State 5 73.9 77.7
Eastern Cape 6 73.7 77.7
Northern Cape 7 72.4 77.7
North West 8 71.3 77.7
Limpopo 9 69.4 77.7

Metro results: Top metros continue to fall within a close range of each other on the MPI (see Table 3), but Cape Town retains its first place, while Tshwane rose to second place with robust spending contributing to its higher ranking in 2014.

Table 3. MPI results for South Africa’s eight largest cities

Rank 2013 score Metro ave.

Cape Town 1 65.9 60.3
Tshwane 2 63.4 60.3
Johannesburg 3 63.2 60.3
eThekwini 4 62.1 60.3
Nelson Mandela Bay 5 61.8 60.3
Ekurhuleni 6 58.8 60.3
Mangaung 7 53.7 60.3
Buffalo City 8 53.4 60.3

Best-performing local municipalities: 8 out of 10 top-performing local municipalities are in the Western Cape.

Table 4. Top 10 most productive local municipalities (2014 MPI scores)

Name Rank 2013 score Local ave.

Overstrand (WC)
1 57.9 40.6
Stellenbosch (WC)
2 57.5 40.6
Steve Tshwete (Mp)
3 57.2 40.6
Saldanha Bay (WC)
4 56.8 40.6
Thabazimbi (Lm) 5 55.6 40.6
Mossel Bay (WC)
6 54.3 40.6
Cape Agulhus (WC)
7 54.1 40.6
Knysna (WC)
8 53.6 40.6
Bitou (WC)
9 53.3 40.6
Drakenstein (WC)
10 53.1 40.6

Protest results In addition to aggregated MPI results, Municipal IQ, has also released aggregated findings from its Municipal Hotspots Monitor to contribute to understanding and debate surrounding (municipal) service delivery protests. The Monitor identifies where service delivery protests have taken place since 2004.

Major service delivery protests against local government (as of 30th November 2014) represent a new peak Municipal IQ’s Hotspots Monitor (see Figure 1). Gauteng (see Figure 2 below) is narrowly ahead of the Eastern Cape as the most protest-ridden province for the first eleven months of 2014, followed closely by KwaZulu-Natal.

Methodology: Municipal IQ’s Hotspots Monitor databases major protests staged by community members (who can be identified as living in a particular ward) against a municipality, as recorded by the media (or other public domain sources such as SAPS releases). Such protestors raise issues that are the responsibility or perceived responsibility of local government (such as councillor accountability, the quality and pace of basic service delivery, and in metro areas, housing). These protests may be violent or peaceful, but there is a clear dissatisfaction with the management of a municipality. Not included are issues falling outside of local government’s service delivery mandate such as demarcation, industrial relation disputes or clear party political issues (including candidate lists). Where protests are sustained over several days or weeks, these are recorded as a single entry, with qualitative details updated on the database.

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