Solidarity measured the liveability of 25 local municipalities and one metropolitan municipality in the Western Cape. The results of the Western Cape Monitor indicate that, as far as liveability is concerned, Western Cape municipalities did much better on the whole and on an individual basis than the other provinces already measured. Liveability refers to the ability of residents to live a decent existence in a town or city.
Dr Eugene Brink, senior researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI), says that among others the report indicates that unemployment is generally low in the Western Cape – even lower than in Gauteng – and it shows that training and income levels are relatively high. Furthermore, it indicates that medical facilities, offered by both private and state institutions, are of a high quality. Moreover, the quality and supply of drinking water and sanitation services are commendable.
“The high quality of service delivery in the Western Cape can be ascribed to the relatively competent management of most of the Western Cape municipalities and the low occurrence of corruption. For example, qualified audits are the exception rather than the rule. Exactly the opposite applies to the municipalities scrutinised in the previous monitors,” Brink says.
Brink says that, unlike the scores obtained in the Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West Monitors, not one municipality in the Western Cape scored less than 5 out of 10. For example, Overstrand scored 8,5 out of 10, while several other municipalities obtained scores of 8.
He says Western Cape residents, however, still face many challenges. “The incidence of crime varies from high to very high in places, while many job opportunities are only seasonal and offer poor pay. Moreover, informal housing is still prevalent and increasing population explosions in many Western Cape municipalities pose serious risks – especially with regard to service delivery, infrastructure and crime,” Brink says. He cautions that extremely sensible management is required to deal with these risks.
The monitor is an ongoing project of the SRI that periodically measures liveability in all South Africa’s municipalities. From the second round of measuring, comparisons would be possible between the previous and the current state of affairs in each municipality.
“In this way, we can determine whether municipalities have improved, remained unchanged or have even deteriorated,” Brink says.