Municipal Consumer Debt in South African Municipalities: Contexts, Causes, and Realities

Prince Chukwuneme Enwereji, Dominique Uwizeyimana


The payment for municipal services by the residents in South Africa has been a much-deliberated issue as consumer debts in many municipalities continue to intensify due to payment default or non-payment. The main aim of this study was to investigate the development of non-payment culture for municipal services, the main causes of non-payment for municipal services, and the measures to improve the payment culture for municipal services. This study adopted a mixed-methods research approach incorporating both quantitative and qualitative research approaches. A convergent parallel mixed methods design was adopted which enhanced the richness of data by triangulating the findings from quantitative and qualitative datasets. Data was collected from the residents using questionnaires and online interviews with executive municipal employees. Findings obtained from the study indicate that the non-payment culture for municipal services has its origin from the anti-apartheid struggle. Furthermore, it was disclosed that the reasons for non-payment for municipal services are compounded as poverty, unemployment, the culture of entitlement, dissatisfaction with service provision, corruption of municipal workers, rise in the cost of municipal services, communication gap issues, and problems associated with the municipal decision-making process. The study recommends that the municipalities should provide adequate services to the residents and adequately engage in a wide outreach to residents through various electronic media or IDP programmes to educate them on the advantages of paying for the services consumed.

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Research in World Economy
ISSN 1923-3981(Print)ISSN 1923-399X(Online)


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