Government’s Free Basic Service (FBS) commitment was borne out of numerous debates on ways to address the needs of the masses of impoverished citizens of South Africa. The right of all citizens to have at least a basic level of service is a right that is entrenched within the South African Constitution (Act 108 of 1996). This right has been actualised in government’s commitment towards the provision of Free Basic Water (FBW), Free Basic Sanitation (FBSan) and Free Basic Electricity (FBE) to economically disadvantaged communities (indigents)
A number of difficulties were highlighted in relation to the provision of FBS. These included the following:
- Statistics available did not provide a detailed picture of delivery at municipal level
- There was a lack of information on the challenges faced by municipalities in delivering FBS
- The impacts that FBS has on poverty was unknown
- Information on which municipalities were experiencing difficulties and would require support in rolling out FBS was absent
In view of the above need, the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) commissioned a nationwide study to provide information and insight on the implementation status of municipalities, challenges experienced and support required.