Provision of quality roads infrastructure in South Africa: rural villagers’ perceptions, Polokwane Municipality in Limpopo Province

24 May 2017

The amalgamation of municipalities in South Africa poses a critical challenge of service delivery. Post 1994, South African governments have always acknowledged that there were serious infrastructure backlogs, which includes roads, health, telecommunications and housing. The new municipalities, created mainly on the bases of the need to share resources between the previously advantaged and disadvantaged municipalities, do not seem to have yielded good results to-date. The amalgamation of rural, townships and urban areas continue to display some form of inequality regarding the provision of services in somemunicipalities. Service provision and development projects, like before, continue to be centered around urban settlements. On the other hand, the 1996 Constitution of South Africa discourages unequal service provision to the populace. The question of quality infrastructure, especially roads is necessary in regard to the way it is provided in rural areas. While it is believed that ward councilors from rural, semi-urban and urban municipalities form part of the municipal council, there are concerns in the way they represent their constituencies, since it is not known how the disparities of service provision happen in the same municipalities. This article therefore uses the case study of Polokwane municipality in Limpopo Province to argue that well-resourced municipalities which were burdened with rural villages under their armpit continue to provide services which are perceived by affected rural communities as unequal and of a substandard quality at times.