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The right to functioning urban infrastructure – A review.


Year published: 2021
Categories: Journal Article
URL Link: https://doi.org/10.18820/2415-0495/trp79i1.7

Author / Authors:

  • Wall, K.


Town and Regional Planning, 79, 55-66.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18820/2415-0495/trp79i1.7


A major objective of local government in South Africa, as defined in the Constitution, is to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner. However, neglect of infrastructure continues to hamper access to service delivery, affecting all citizens and the economy. Informed by the author’s own long career involvement and current research programme in infrastructure operation and maintenance, together with current extensive secondary research, he identified that lack of care for infrastructure leads directly to infrastructure failure. This, in turn, harms the economy and inconveniences citizens, and, in some instances, even deprives them of their rights. This article draws attention to some generic reasons for the failure of infrastructure and service delivery and explores ways for measuring infrastructure and service delivery deficits. It emphasises the consequences of service delivery failure and notes the experiences of four towns, all of which have service delivery deficits. The article then contrasts the public statements of authorities such as Ministers and the Auditor General with the dearth of effective action on the part of many municipalities, and asks why this should be.

Keywords: infrastructure maintenance, infrastructure operation, municipalities, service delivery failures, economy, budgets, skills


  • Journal Article