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INVESTIGATING THE IMPACT OF SERVICE DELIVERY ON

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: A CASE STUDY OF ONGWEDIVA TOWN


COUNCIL, NAMIBIA

1.1 Introduction
In Namibia, there are three levels of government, with separate spheres of responsibility central,
regional and local. Local government is the first level and is responsible for matters close to local
communities. However, there is no upper or lower tier in Namibian local government. Although, the
14 Regional Councils run the regions. Municipal, Town and Village Councils are not sub-ordinate to
them. The municipal councils are the most autonomous local authorities of the local authority
categories. Under the Local Authorities Act of 1992. Local government (LG) service delivery system
in Namibia has unique potential like many other developed and developing countries. It affects on day-
to-day activities of citizens at the grassroots level. Namibia has been functioning with LG service
delivery system for approximately twenty-five years, currently; it endeavours to become the basis for
a viable system of decentralized governance.

Sheefeni and Mutingil (2016, pp. 1344 1349) cited that one of the most significant challenges facing
services organizations today is the provision of consistently high quality services. The delivery of
consistent service quality is arguably one of the most vital factors that contributed to the establishment
of the credibility and reputation of these organizations in the eyes of the public. It is well recognized
that the provision of high quality services can have beneficial effects on the bottom-line performance
of the organization. They further consented that, there is a growing body of empirical evidence
suggesting that the provision of top quality services can enhance profitability, improve productivity,
increase market share and return on investment, and reduce maintenance costs.

As part of LG, the Ongwediva Town Council (OTC) is responsible for the distribution of public
services like water, electricity, sanitation infrastructure, land, and housing and security services.
Unfortunately, it seems the governments delivery and upkeep of these resources is unreliable - greatly
inconveniencing or endangering whole communities. According to Pandy and Paulus (2000, pp. 66-
69) essentially, the role of members of the community as responsible citizens implies the need for
people to organise themselves to participate effectively in processes that impact on their lives. Although
it is important for people to participate at all levels of government, local government is located within
communities, affording the opportunity for direct engagement.

This study will lead us to understanding the extent to which OTC delivers service to its customers
while drawing customer perceptions on service delivery. Secondly, to determine the impact of such
service delivery on customer satisfaction. Understanding whether customers are satisfied or not, will
help the council to come up with a right proposition to improve service delivery according to customer
expectations thus increase present government support and customer engagement. In essence, this
paper is composed of three major sections the first of which contains the research context and
background, followed by the research problem, aim of the study and the objectives of the study,
research questions and consequently the significance of the study. The second section deals with the
literature review and thirdly, followed by the methodology in relation to the proposed study.
1.2 Research Context and Background
At independence in 1990, the government of the Republic of Namibia promulgated local authorities in
terms of an Act of Parliament, the Local Authorities Act of 1992( Act No. 23 of 1992) that gave rise
to establishment of local authorities. Ongwediva Town Council is one such among local authorities
created under this arrangement. Ongwediva Town Council (OTC) situated approximately 5 kilometres
east of Oshakati, in Oshana Region. According to the Oshana 2011 census regional profile, the OTC
has approximately 20 260 inhabitants while the total population of the constituency is 34 065.

Upon its inception early 1993, the Town Council made gigantic progress in establishing its
administrative structure and systems and acquiring its own administrative and technical know-how to
run its own affairs. The Town Councils capabilities to manage the Town increased such that in July
1998, the Ministry of Regional Local Government and Housing decided to discontinue its involvement
in the operational management of the Town as per its previous Agency Agreement. The Ongwediva
Town Council was granted fully autonomous status to fulfil all its obligations to the people of
Ongwediva in accordance with the Local Authoritys Act. Shah (2005) however, argues that
globalization, localization, and information revolution are empowering citizens to demand
accountability from their governments. For such accountability to be an effective tool, a framework for
measuring government performance for public services delivery is required.

Chandrashekhar, (2017, pp. 8) argues that public sector today is assessed by the efficiency of its service
delivery. No longer is the effectiveness of the public sector measured by the revenue it generates or
the employment it provides... OTC is no exception to such an endeavour as customer expectations are
changing when it comes to governmental service delivery. Wiseler (2007) propose that the importance
of deploying a modern client-centric approach in public services is imperative in the public sector and
has become a goal. In order to enhance service delivery, the Namibian government has launched the
Local Government Reform position paper in April 2013 providing a blueprint for final form of local
government in Namibia after its progression from apartheid structures, through the democratization of
councils, to the creation of developmental local government. This service transformation cycle may be
critical in measuring customer experience.

Service delivery is the act of providing service to customers. In service delivery, we need to know what
citizens/users expect from our organisation in terms of services and their delivery. According to OECD
(2013, p. 149) more and more government institutions are proactively seeking and acting on feedback
from citizens about their experiences in order to improve service delivery. Poor service delivery and
governance remains an irresistible challenge in most municipalities. This can be attributed by the
demand for good drinking water, efficient waste-disposal system, access to health care, and adequate
housing, schools, and recreational facilities and so on (Omar, 2009). The slow commitment of
customer service delivery in public sector organizations is further, aggravated by difficulties in
measuring outcomes, greater scrutiny from the public and press, a lack of freedom to act in an arbitrary
fashion, and a requirement for decisions to be based in law. Irrespective of these difficulties, however,
public sector organizations have come under increasing pressure to satisfy customers, improve
efficiencies, and respond to government legislation (IDASA, 2010).

By looking at the overall perspectives, this study will be conducted to investigate the impact of service
delivery in relation to customer satisfaction, while drawing general customer perceptions. The
researcher will endeavour to provide recommendations where improvements are required. This study
focuses on local government service delivery in particular. The specific area of study was chosen as a
gateway to decentralised service delivery to the common citizen in and around the town of Ongwediva.
However, the focus of Service Delivery is widely interpreted by the provision of basic services, while
acknowledging the fact that basic services are essential in Namibia, the most critical basic need despite
the scarcity of land and other challenges of the past government dispensation is adequate housing. With
regard to housing matters, the delivery of services such as water, electricity, sanitation and access to
roads becomes of primary concern to the researcher. Hence this study will investigate the impact of
service delivery on customer satisfaction to that effect.