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A Tripartite Approach to Ensure Municipal Service Delivery

The Case of a Mining Town in South Africa

Article image

Malene Campbell, Ernst Drewes

15 December 2018

Journal of Settlements and Spatial Planning


Mining Towns Librarian

Journal article

Municipal Capability & Partnership Programme

South Africa

Postmasburg, a small mining town, has been an agricultural centre for the past 120 years, the iron ore mining being the only diversifying factor to the local economy. Mining endeavours resulted in the traditional boom-town cycle in Postmasburg over the past ten years with one significant exception to most of the rural towns in South Africa, which experienced the same expansions in mining operations. Whereas the other towns ran into a bottleneck after the initial rounds of urban development, mainly as a result of insufficient bulk infrastructure and capable human resources, the Tsantsabane Local Municipality, within which the town of Postmasburg is located, together with the two listed mining companies Kolomela and Assore’s Beeshoek, formed a tripartite partnership that approached service delivery in an exceptional manner.


This paper critically assesses the Tsassamba Partnership against the backdrops of (a) the need for a partnership approach to governance and (b) the emphasis of planning theory on partnerships and local context. Data were collected through interviews with representatives of the mining companies, municipality, business sector and civic organisations, and quantitative questionnaires were applied in a household survey of 1,024 households. All the interviewees highlighted the success of this partnership approach. The survey also found that the partnership participated and cooperated successfully in the development of bulk infrastructure and land for housing for the mining employees, which had posed a major challenge to the local municipality.


This resource is part of the Mining Towns Collection kindly sponsored by the Municipal Capability and Partnership Programme. Abstract based on source.



Website References

Built environment


Human settlements



Mining Towns

Mining Towns Collection


Service delivery

South Africa

Spatial planning

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