Africa: Kimberley – South Africa’s Tourism Diamond Needs a Desperate Polish in Local Government

South Africa has much to offer domestic and international tourists, but the country falls short in being a full-package destination, primarily because municipalities are often badly run and fail to deliver basic services. Kimberley, the home of the Big Hole, is one such example.

The (in)efficacy of local government can either hinder or help the cause of domestic tourism. That is so because the tourism sector sits at the intersection of government service delivery across the board: roads, transport, water, refuse collection, and infrastructure.

Considered collectively, those services demonstrate whether the three tiers of the state work cohesively or if there are gaps in the system. Take, for example, the state of the N12 between Johannesburg and Kimberley. The road runs through five provinces: Mpumalanga, Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape and Western Cape.

On the Johannesburg to Kimberley portion of the N12, it is easy to guess from the state of the road which segments are taken care of by national government, provincial authorities, and local councils. The condition of the road is in equal parts impressive and terrifying. The contrasts are glaring.

The road goes from smooth and clear surface markings to pothole-riddled lumps of dirt. The latter bits…

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