The sustainable development goals signed in 2016 marked a
new phase in global development thinking, one which is focused on ecologically and
fiscally sustainable human settlements. Few countries offer a better testing
ground for their attainment than post-apartheid South Africa. Since the coming
to power of the African National Congress, the country has undergone a policy
making revolution, driven by an urgent need to improve access to services for
the country’s black majority.
A quarter century on from the fall of apartheid, Building a
Capable State asks what lessons can be learned from the South African
experience. The book assesses whether the South African government has
succeeded in improving service delivery, focusing on the vital sectors of water
and sanitation, energy, roads, public transport and housing. Emphasizing the often-overlooked
role of local government institutions and finance, the book demonstrates that
effective service delivery can have a profound impact on the social structure
of emerging economies, and must form an integral part of any future development
A comprehensive examination of urban service delivery in the global South, Building a Capable State is essential reading for students and practitioners across the social sciences, public finance and engineering sectors.