Photo: Facebook/Overstrand Municipality.

Ranked: These are the 20 best run municipalities in South Africa

Fourteen of South Africa’s top 20 local municipalities are found in the Western Cape, according to an index. The Eastern Cape followed in second with two.


Photo: Facebook/Overstrand Municipality.

The Out of Order Index was compiled by News24 ahead of the 2021 Local Government Elections on 1 November. The project is one of the first data journalism endeavours of its kind in the country; the media organisation used public information, including National Treasury budget data, Auditor-General reports and Statistics South Africa information, to produce an interactive tool that provides the electorate with service delivery data in a digestible format.

Each of the more than 200 local municipalities in South Africa were allocated a score out of 100, according to the Index – with 0 being total failure and 100 being perfect performance.


The Out of Order Index used 20 different dimensions to calculate a score for each municipality. Despite this, and the robustness of the data, News24 said that it identified problems in the accuracy, reliability and in the quality of data, adding that the problem often lied in the data supplied by the municipalities themselves to the government and Stats SA.

The average index score for municipalities across the country was 45 out of 100. The average score for the country’s highest-scoring municipalities was 60. The Western Cape dominates the list with 14 municipalities.

The table below lists the South African best-performing municipalities from lowest to highest index score:

 Municipality NameProvinceParty with most votes in 2016 LGEIndex Score
=Thembisile HaniMpumalangaANC (76%)57
=BitouWestern CapeDA (49%)57
18KnysnaWestern CapeDA (50%)57
=StellenboschWestern CapeDA (69%)58
16Breede ValleyWestern CapeDA (54%)58
15Prince AlbertWestern CapeDA (34%)58
14Kou-KammaEastern CapeANC (51%)58
13GeorgeWestern CapeDA (56%)58
=WitzenbergWestern CapeDA (46%)59
11Sol PlaatjeNorthern CapeANC (58%)59
=Mossel BayWestern CapeDA (61%)61
9KougaEastern CapeDA (57%)61
8uMhlathuzeKwaZulu-NatalANC (64%)61
=Steve TshweteMpumalangaANC (56%)62
6MidvaalGautengDA (60%)62
=Saldanha BayWestern CapeDA (62%)63
=HessequaWestern CapeDA (45%)63
3SwartlandWestern CapeDA (70%)63
=Cape AgulhasWestern CapeDA (54%)65
1OverstrandWestern CapeDA (65%)65


Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and provincial MEC of local government Anton Bredell welcomed the index report with open arms.

“We note that the report was based on multiple independent data sets. Our municipalities in the Western Cape are not perfect and they are constantly looking for ways to improve, I am the first to acknowledge this. But what this shows is that we are getting many things right,” said Bredell.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) submitted its State of the Government report to cabinet in August 2021.

The report categorised just 16 out of 257 municipalities in South Africa as “stable”. The majority of the stable municipalities, according to Cogta, were found in the Western Cape (12), while Gauteng, KZN, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape were home to one each.

Photo: Cogta

The State of the Government Report said the highest performing local municipalities mostly fall outside disestablished apartheid Bantustans and tend to contain highly urbanised communities, large urban centres, mining towns and/or semi-desert areas. “More than 80% of the local municipalities in Gauteng and the Western Cape are found within this quartile,” read the report.

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