Cost Recovery and the Crisis of Service Delivery in South Africa
McDonald, D & Pape, J (eds)
245mm X 168mm
In print
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Cost Recovery and the Crisis of Service Delivery in South Africa is a groundbreaking publication, providing a theoretical and empirical review of the dramatic shift from welfare municipalism to a neoliberal vision of balanced budgets and fiscal restraint.

Centred largely on case studies in a number of South African municipalities, this volume critically examines ‘cost recovery’, the heart of this new municipal vision. The authors contend that cost recovery has far-reaching implications for access to services, affordability and privatisation. At a theoretical level, the book explores ways of reversing the insidious effects of commodification, the role of the market in shaping service delivery, and the way we ‘value’ essential goods such as water.

These issues are of increasing importance internationally as governments around the world move more aggressively toward full cost recovery measures.

Table of contents:
  • Introduction – John Pape & David A. McDonald
  • 1. The Theory and Practice of Cost Recovery in South Africa – David A. McDonald
  • 2. Debt, Disconnection and Privatisation: The Case of Fort Beaufort, Queenstown and Stutterheim – Greg Ruiters
  • 3. “Massive Cutoffs”: Cost Recovery and Electricity Service in Diepkloof, Soweto – Grace Khunou
  • 4. Cost Recovery and Prepaid Water Meters and the Cholera Outbreak in Kwazulu-Natal: A case study in Madlebe – Hameda Deedat & Eddie Cottle
  • 5. “They are Killing us Alive”: A Case Study of the Impact of Cost Recovery on Service Provision in Makhaza Section, Khayelitsha – Mthetho Xali
  • 6. The Struggle Against Encroachment: Constantia and the Defence of White Privilege in the “New” South Africa – John Pape
  • 7. Viva Prepaids, Viva!: Assessing New Technology, cost recovery in the rural Northern Cape – Hameda Deedat
  • 8. The Bell Tolls for Thee: Cost Recovery, Cutoffs and the Affordability of Municipal Services in South Africa – David A. McDonald
  • 9. Looking for Alternatives to Cost Recovery – John Pape

    Dr David A. McDonald is the Director of the Development Studies programme at Queen’s University in Canada, and Co-Director of the Municipal Services Project. A political economist and geographer, McDonald has written extensively on issues of municipal service delivery, local government, environmental justice and international migration in Southern Africa.

    Dr John Pape is the Co-Director of the International Labour Resource and Information Group (ILRIG) at the University of Cape Town. He has written widely on economic and political issues, including local government and service delivery. Pape has produced a number of publications on issues such as globalisation, economic policy, privatisation, gender and labour history.