'Local government is extensively broken, yet key to our economic development'
South Africa's dysfunctional municipalities are not necessarily seen as contributors to local economic development.
But they have a key role to play, posits the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) at the University of Stellenbosch.
Researchers set out to better understand the degree of failure across different types of municipalities - metros, intermediate municipalities and other local municipalities.
An extract from the BER research note is published on The Conversation with the title 'Municipalities can play a key role in South Africa’s economic development. Here’s how'.
In other words, local government can make or break you life - you've got to be voting, surely!Bruce Whitfield, The Money Show host
Bruce Whitfield talks to BER Director, Professor Johann Kirsten.
We highlight a number of systemic problems with the way local government operates... from the way that the Councils make their decisions to the efficiencies of the bureaucrats and the people appointed to the critical positions in the municipalities. They contribute to the poor outcomes...Prof. Johann Kirsten, Director - Bureau for Economic Research at SU
If we think about economic growth... we often talk about macro-economic policies or national policies that need to be in place, but at the end of the day what happens at the grassroots level, the coalface... are really the things that constrain our development pathway.Prof. Johann Kirsten, Director - Bureau for Economic Research at SU
The question is how do you solve the problem says Prof. Kirsten.
You find that there are a whole range of issues on top of the corruption, on top of the way the decision making takes place at the local government level... and the arrogance of the officials towards the community they need to serve.Prof. Johann Kirsten, Director - Bureau for Economic Research at SU
Can our broken local government be repaired?
It's quite extensively broken, especially at your smaller local municipalities... the larger metros tend to survive...Prof. Johann Kirsten, Director - Bureau for Economic Research at SU
We focus specifically on the intermediate city municipalities. With the metros they contribute to about a third of the population... If you think of the investment of the entrepreneurs, the wellbeing of households that are all impacted by a handful of municipalities, about 40, that are responsible for the wellbeing of our economy and our society...Prof. Johann Kirsten, Director - Bureau for Economic Research at SU
Listen to the analysis of the state of our municipalities on The Money Show: