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A Tripartite Approach to Ensure Municipal Service Delivery. The Case of a Mining Town in South Africa

1 University of the Free State, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Bloemfontein, SOUTH AFRICA
2 North-West University, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Potchefstroom, SOUTH AFRICA

Pages: 93-102

Abstract. Postmasburg, a small mining town, has been an agricultural centre for the past 120 years, the iron ore mining being the only diversifying factor to the local economy. Mining endeavours resulted in the traditional boom-town cycle in Postmasburg over the past ten years with one significant exception to most of the rural towns in South Africa, which experienced the same expansions in mining operations. Whereas the other towns ran into a bottleneck after the initial rounds of urban development, mainly as a result of insufficient bulk infrastructure and capable human resources, the Tsantsabane Local Municipality, within which the town of Postmasburg is located, together with the two listed mining companies Kolomela and Assore’s Beeshoek, formed a tripartite partnership that approached service delivery in an exceptional manner. This paper critically assesses the Tsassamba Partnership against the background of the need for a partnership approach of governance against the background of the emphasis of planning theory on partnerships and local context. Data was collected by conducting interviews with representatives of the mining companies, municipality, business sector and civic organisations and quantitative questionnaires were applied in a household survey of 1,024 households. All the interviewees highlighted the success of this partnership approach. The survey also found that the partnership participated and cooperated successfully in the development of bulk infrastructure and land for housing for the mining employees, which had posed a major challenge to the local municipality.

K e y w o r d s:  service delivery, small town, spatial planning, mining, sustainability