Western Cape local councils perform most productively — ANC 6, DA 4

The Western Cape will be a key battle ground in the 2011 local government elections. The Democratic Alliance (DA) in its manifesto has indicated that the Western Cape municipal governments performance was the best across the country. The latest data (2010) for the Municipal Productive Index (MPI)  supports this argument. The data shows that 9 out of the top 10 local councils are from the Western Cape. It is however important to note that the good performance of the Western Cape has the African National Congress (ANC) performing equally as well as the DA run municipal governments.

Municipality NameProvinceRankIndex MeasureRuling Party
GeorgeWestern Cape159.6Coalition DA and ID
Saldanha BayWestern Cape258.2Coalition ANC and NPP
KnysnaWestern Cape357.9ANC
GamagaraNorthern Cape457.5ANC
BitouWestern Cape557ANC
SwartlandWestern Cape656.6DA
Breede ValleyWestern Cape756.5ANC then DA --- Leadership shifted
WitzenbergWestern Cape856.5Coalition ANC, NPP and UIF
OverstrandWestern Cape956.2DA
DrakensteinWestern Cape1056.1ANC (Coalition)

The data has the following important findings:

  • Even the most productive local councils score just slightly above the 50% mark.
  • Nine out of ten most productive local councils are in the Western Cape.
  • Five of the top ten local councils are run by coalitions.
  • The DA currently leads or participates in a coalition in four of the ten most productive local councils.
  • The ANC currently leads or participates in a coalition in six of the top ten municipal governments.

There are many ways to interpret the data, and no doubt political parties will seek to spin the results. The most important feature for voters is that a simple message of one party running “good local councils” and another running “bad local councils” is not supported in the data. SL

Methodological Note

The  data is produced by Municipal IQ, which calculates the Municipal Productivity Index (MPI) as follows:

The MPI combines different types of data to measure how productive the average resident of a South African municipality can be. The MPI calculates five factors: poverty levels and the municipal response to poverty; access to a minimum level of municipal services; economic “intelligence” (infrastructure used by residents to participate in the economy); financial governance and expenditure levels by a local council; and vacancy rates in a municipality.

Understanding who runs a municipal government proved an interesting, but not straightforward exercise. The process of finding this information involved:

  1. Reviewing the local government voting results. If there was a clear winner (50 plus 1 percent) then I have assumed that the majority party constituted the council
  2. Where voting did not produce a clear winner, the websites of local councils were reviewed. Where necessary, phone calls to municipal officials were undertaken.


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