Building a Capable State

Service delivery in post-apartheid South Africa

Product Attributes

  • Soft Cover
  • 9781775822486
  • 320 pages
  • 2017


Palmer, I ; Moodley, N ; Parnell, S


R 385.00

About this Publication:

‘The authors present a rich, comprehensive but sober analysis of progress achieved by the South African public sector in the two decades after apartheid. Their view from the local level is particularly relevant, as South Africa is one of the few African countries with empowered sub-national government.’ - William Cobbett, Director, Cities Alliance
In 2016, the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) were signed into being, marking a new phase of global development thinking focused on ecologically, socially and fiscally sustainable human settlements.  Few countries offer a better testing ground for their attainment than post-apartheid South Africa.
Since the coming to power of the African National Congress, the country has undergone a policy-making revolution, driven by an urgent need to improve access to services for the country’s black majority. More than 20 years on from the fall of apartheid, Building a Capable State asks what lessons can be learned from the South African experience. This comprehensive examination of urban service delivery in the global South assesses whether the South African government has succeeded in improving service delivery, focusing on the vital sectors of water and sanitation, energy, roads and public transport. Emphasising the often-overlooked role of local government institutions, the book demonstrates that effective service delivery can have a profound effect on the social structure of emerging economies, and must form an integral part of any future development strategy.

Contents Include:

1 What is the ‘capable’ state?
2 Twenty years: local government in transition
3 Institutions
4 Improving capability through regulation and support
5 Municipal organisational capability
6 Financing municipal services
7 Water and sanitation
8 Electricity
9 Roads and public transport
10 Housing
11 Is South Africa a capable state?
Appendix A: comparative country profiles
Appendix B: economic factors

Of Interest and Benefit to:

Students and academics across the Social Sciences, but particularly in Urban Studies, Urban Planning, Public Finance, Engineering, Public Administration and Development Studies; also relevant to practitioners and NGOs involved in public finance and public policy.