WP62: Delivery or responsiveness? A popular scorecard of local government performance in South Africa

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Working papers
Bratton, Michael and Mxolisi Sibanyoni

Just under half of South Africa's adult citizens think that the country's new system of local government is working well. Moreover, the level of popular approval varies sharply across provinces and may be declining over time. With reference to overall local government performance, rural residents are less likely to be satisfied than urban dwellers; and Blacks tend to be less satisfied than people of other races. Importantly, however, all South Africans seem to judge local government performance in personalized terms, that is, according to whether they think their own elected councilor is doing a good job. In addition, they base their judgments about local goverment performance (and about democracy too) in good part on whether their elected councilor actually listens to their needs.

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