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Privatizing Cape Town : service delivery and policy reforms since 1996

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dc.contributor.author Queen's University, Municipal Services Project
dc.contributor.author McDonald, D.A.
dc.contributor.author Smith, L.
dc.date.accessioned 2007-11-13T05:22:48Z
dc.date.available 2003-01-30 en
dc.date.available 2007-11-13T05:22:48Z
dc.date.issued 2002
dc.identifier.isbn 0-88911-985-6
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10625/31181
dc.description.abstract This booklet is about the privatization of municipal services such as water, waste and electricity in the city of Cape Town. The term ‘privatization’ is used to cover a range of private sector activities, including outsourcing and the introduction of private sector principles such as performance -based management and full-cost recovery into service delivery reforms. We also include the corporatization of services in this broad definition. Chapter One argues that there has been a fundamental shift away from the ‘statist’ service delivery models of the past where the state subsidized and delivered municipal services (albeit in a racially-biased manner), towards a more ‘neoliberal’ service delivery model where the private sector (and private sector principles) dominate. In the latter model, the state acts as a service ‘ensurer’ rather than a service ‘provider’ – in the now-fashionable language of the World Bank – and municipal services are ‘run more like a business’, with financial cost recovery becoming the most important measure of performance. The chapter is based on extensive interviews with senior city managers and politicians, as well as a review of relevant policy documents, political party position papers and an evaluation of council activities since the first democratic elections in 1996. Chapter Two provides a detailed account of the increasing commercialization of water in Cape Town, with a focus on current efforts to corporatize the service into a ring-fenced business unit. Although different from the outright divestiture of state assets in that the city retains control and ownership of water facilities, corporatization nevertheless raises many of the same concerns about access and affordability as privatization and introduces many of the same profit-oriented motives and operating principles. It is also often the first step towards outright privatization. This chapter provides an overview of the city’s water corporatization plans followed by a list of concerns as to their appropriateness for Cape Town, the most important of which relate to issues of accountability and regulation, the continued fragmentation of service delivery decision making, heightened pressures for cost recovery, and the process by which the corporatization proposals have been developed. Underlying much of this discussion is the argument that neither the promise nor the potential of public sector reform have been achieved in Cape Town. Contrary to written guarantees on the part of the African National Congress (ANC) that the public sector would be the ‘preferred service provider’, local ANC councils have failed to adequately explore the public sector option and have actively promoted privatization and corporatization. The other major political parties in Cape Town – the Democratic Party (DP) and the New National Party (NNP) – have been equally unwilling to explore and promote public sector reform but have been open about their private sector preferences. So too have senior municipal managers, many of whom are responsible for the daily operation and decision making of service delivery in the city. It is at this level of the civil service that the most concrete (albeit unofficial and ad hoc) expression of privatization and corporatization is to be found. Our objective with this report is to document – for the first time since the end of apartheid – both the scale and character of privatization initiatives in Cape Town and to situate these policy changes within the broader national and international policy-making environment on service delivery. There are different opinions on privatization in Cape Town, and we attempt to capture these nuances in our analysis, but there is an overwhelmingly pro-privatization philosophy, representing a shift in policy orientation as profound as any that Cape Town has experienced in its long and tumultuous history. That this ideological shift should be discussed, and its relevance to service delivery in Cape Town debated, is the motivation for this report. en
dc.format Text en
dc.format.extent 1 digital file (62 p. : ill.) en
dc.format.mimetype Application/pdf
dc.language.iso en
dc.publisher Queens University, Kingston, ON, CA en
dc.relation.ispartof Occasional papers series / Queen's University, Municipal Services Project; no. 7 en
dc.subject PRIVATISATION en
dc.subject LOCAL GOVERNMENT en
dc.subject PUBLIC SERVICES en
dc.subject WATER MANAGEMENT en
dc.subject PRIVATE SECTOR en
dc.subject SOUTH AFRICA en
dc.subject POLICY MAKING en
dc.subject DECISION MAKING en
dc.subject POLITICAL PARTIES en
dc.title Privatizing Cape Town : service delivery and policy reforms since 1996 en
dc.type Book en
idrc.project.number 100192
idrc.project.number 101644
idrc.project.componentnumber 101644002
idrc.project.title Municipal Services Restructuring (South Africa) en
idrc.project.title Municipal Services and Health in Southern Africa - Phase II en
idrc.copyright.holder Municipal Services Project
idrc.copyright.oapermissionsource OA Permission License en
idrc.copyright.oareleasedocrecordsserverdocnumber 218187
idrc.dspace.access Open Access en
idrc.rims.adhocgroup IDRC SUPPORTED en


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