top of page
  • Writer's pictureMBF


Parallel 'municipalities' are increasingly filling the service delivery gap...

There is a trend that is taking place in many small towns in South Africa. An overall parallel 'municipality' is brought about by volunteers - it's just not called a municipality.

Besides the supply of water and provision for this entity exists to fill the gap in the provision of fairly basic services. And to maintain it, residents, who pay monthly property taxes and fees for other services such as garbage disposal, have to scramble. Why does this happen? Because there are basically two options on the table: (a) Make a plan and do it yourself; or (b) Watch the immediate environment fall into utter disrepair. Our Mafube villages are an example.

Residents associations (of the same) offer to trim all the ridges of the main street through town, clean parks or paint a road marking or two, where it is no longer visible. Or like in Frankfort, to paint street names, build speed bumps and erect traffic signs as done by the local branch of AfriForum. Without this initiative will not be done, not as the local municipality (at best) or bankrupt under administration.

It seems that the Western Cape has been spared from this decline, because most local municipalities there are largely non-functional. However, Knysna is not so lucky... In larger cities, there are suburban residents' associations that are forced to bridge the service delivery gap. In Johannesburg it started as security-oriented entities, but it had to expand to: i.a. pothole repair, maintenance of parks and shared spaces, provision of solar lighting, etc.

Typically, residents pay an annual 'levy' - this can amount to R3000 per year. Larger businesses in these areas are typically major contributors to these types of associations (through time, money, space, labor and so on). Clearly this entity is very effective - they have an incentive to be!

The fundamental question is how long homeowners will tolerate paying twice (or at least a 'premium') for the same services.

Property rates are not cheap. An owner of a house worth R2 million will pay almost R20 000 per year in property tax. Adding a thousand or two to that figure is substantial, especially as roads crumble and basic maintenance on public spaces is rarely (if ever) done.

Homeowners know they cannot afford not to pay these volunteer-led private entities to maintain public spaces and keep these small towns 'livable'.

At what point do tax boycotts in these small towns become a reality?

MBF invites residents, business owners and taxpayers to visit our offices at 18A Church Street, Frankfort on Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays 08h30 to 12h00. Call or send a WhatsApp message to Marina on 079 145 4295. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook.

12 views0 comments


bottom of page