The City of Harare Customer (Household) Satisfaction Survey, 2020, measured customer perception in key municipal functions or services. It was premised on the understanding that municipal disaggregated data is key to ensuring that planning processes at the local authority level are founded on realistic targets and that effective implementation can be monitored, ensuring accountability and citizen follow-up. The survey was commissioned by the City of Harare and conducted by the Local Governance Trust (LGT) and Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) as part of broad efforts to inculcate a culture of social accountability into the city operations. Carried out at a time the country and humanity worldwide were reeling from the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, arguably the worst health crisis in a century, the study came soon after a mandatory shutdown by the city to contain the virus. Beyond the virus, the City had also been facing deep-seated teething problems affecting delivery of basic social services. Therefore, the customer satisfaction survey was held during a period of great instability that affected the City’s ability to deliver affordable services timely and efficiently.
Following a quantitative and qualitative research paradigm, the survey quantitative data was collected using questionnaires coded onto mobile devices (electronic tablets) with Open Data Kit (ODK) survey software. Qualitative data was gathered through observations and discussions with the respondents during interviews. With a total of 48 questions broken down into four (4) service areas, the survey questionnaire was used on a sample size of 800 respondents. This sample size was set using Raosoft statistical sample size calculation at 99% confidence level, 50% response distribution and a margin of error of 4.55%. The security of enumerators and respondents was emphasized with the “do no harm” safeguarding policy upheld throughout the survey.
The survey reached 787 (98.8%) respondents, of which 56.7% were female and 43.3% were male, from a total of 22 suburbs visited across the City. 44.1% of the respondents revealed they had stayed in their respective local authority area for more than 20 years while 19.1% of the respondents indicated that they had stayed in their respective local authority areas for periods ranging between 10 and 20 years. Survey data indicated that 38.5% of the respondents were informally employed, 19.2% were formally employed while the rest of the respondents were either students, unemployed or retired. 35.6% of the respondents earned less than an equivalent of Fifty United States Dollars (USD50.00) per month, 25.8% earned between Fifty United States Dollars (USD50.00) and One Hundred United States Dollars (USD100.00), 25% of the respondents earned above one hundred United States Dollars (USD100.00) while the remainder (13.6%) of the same were not comfortable with disclosing their earnings. With very little disposable income, customers are unlikely to prioritise the payment of local authority services, especially in situations of inconsistent delivery of services.
Of the total respondents, 93% said they did not belong to organised groups dealing with municipal service delivery issues in their respective communities. While associations had active structures across the City, data suggested that many of the citizens did not belong to any of these groups. This pointed to the fact that the City of Harare needed to do more to lure and inform citizens/ratepayers on the local authority’s municipal services, beyond targeting community groups or associations.
62% of the respondents indicated that they had participated in the local municipal elections, suggesting that citizens were keen on selecting their local ward representatives. However, 72.3% of respondents were unaware of council development structures suggesting that while participating in local municipal elections, customers did not have sufficient knowledge of council (ward) development structures/spaces/platforms which are critical bridges in contributing to local municipal affairs. Thus, limiting the visibility of elected councillors who attained a satisfaction rating of 39.9%.
The data collected showed that up to 90% of respondents did not have access to the council budget or were not aware of the budgeting cycle of the City. Further, data showed that a paltry 1.5% received an electronic municipal bill while 78.3% of the respondents preferred an electronic payment system. This indicated the need for the City to commence action towards creating an integrated electronic billing and payment system to adequately cater to its customer needs. 98% of the respondents were willing to pay rates and service charges for services rendered by the local authority. It would appear, however, that the city continued to bill for services even if they were not available creating resentment towards the city council among customers causing general apathy towards payment. 63.3% of respondents said they spent an average of 0-30 minutes in council revenue halls while 68.7% of the respondents felt that customer care by the City of Harare officials was good each time they interacted.
Where infrastructure and service provision were concerned, indicators such as water and sanitation, health, education as well as roads, housing and social services failed to attain a 50% satisfaction level. Consequently, this data suggests that the City’s customers were dissatisfied with the core social services that impacted on their daily lives. Overall, data showed a customer satisfaction level of 36.7%.
Based on the survey data, the following recommendations are made:
- That the City of Harare should ensure that collected revenue is ploughed back into the 46 wards to increase community participation.
- Further, the City needs to go beyond the community groups and associations so as to engage the over 90% of citizens who may not be affiliated to the organised community groups and associations dealing with service delivery issues while popularising ward development structures/platforms/spaces. Popularising these development spaces will also ensure the visibility of councillors.
- Additionally, the City of Harare should progressively migrate to an integrated electronic billing and payment system.
Read the full report here (1MB PDF)
Source: Local Governance Trust, Combined Harare Residents’ Association, City of Harare