n Journal of Public Administration - Commercialisation of urban environmental maintenance services by South African municipalities

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The ultimate goal that faces newly established municipalities in South Africa is to deliver more cost-effective and efficient services to their residents, within the context of limited financial and human resources. In order to meet this challenge, municipalities have to investigate alternative and creative ways of delivering quality services to all their residents. Commercialisation is regarded by the government of the day as an instrument towards achieving this goal. This move towards contracting of services originated in Britain during the 1980s, under the Conservative Party Government. Municipal parks and recreation maintenance services are ideally suited to commercialisation in accordance with criteria that define which functions and services should be commercialised in order to achieve government objectives.

The South African Government promotes commercialisation as a tool towards systematically transferring services, like urban environmental maintenance, from the public to the private sector where services are regulated by market and price mechanisms.
For various reasons commercialisation as a government initiative is not supported by all role-players. The Government, however, pursues the commercialisation initiatives regardless of resistance. The progress made with commercialisation of urban environmental maintenance services in metropolitan and municipal authorities since 1994, when the African National Congress came to power, is discussed in this article.
Although it is acknowledged that urban environmental maintenance services are ideally suited to commercialisation, and the majority of stakeholders recognise the possible benefits of commercialisation as an alternative way of rendering the service, there is a reluctance to proceed with the process. This article will specifically focus on guidelines for the implementation of commercialisation of municipal urban environmental maintenance.

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