Ageing infrastructure, a lack of capacity and the shortage of skilled personnel in many municipalities has seen frequent disruptions in the delivery of services to communities.  These issues also contribute to large volumes of water being wasted through leaks and broken pipes, for example. 


To help communities engage municipal authorities on service delivery and infrastructure maintenance, an innovative system was conceptualised by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.  The Municipal Services Corrective Action Request and Reporting System (CARRS) is an incident management system with a strong focus on accountability.  The aim is to improve the manner in which municipalities handle questions and reports from communities.  The system will also ensure an improvement in water supply services through the proper operation and timely maintenance of municipal infrastructure. The system adds value to the entire water value chain, from the source to the user's tap.


The CARRS project is being piloted in selected sites in eight of the districts prioritised by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, namely, Amathole in the Eastern Cape, Capricorn and Vhembe in Limpopo, Ehlanzeni in Mpumalanga, iLembe in KwaZulu-Natal, and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Ngaka Modiri Molema and Bojanala Platinum in the North West. A total of 16 local municipalities and an estimated 28 villages or sites have been prioritised within these eight districts.


The CARRS workflow system can be used by ordinary citizens to report incidents such as water leaks, water supply disruptions, water quality issues, and any other matters that affect the delivery of water services. It has the ability to trace and locate the status of reports in terms of the planned corrective action, and accelerate service delivery. 


Task teams have been set up within existing leadership structures like ward committees.  These teams are responsible for monitoring and reporting faults such as water leaks and water supply disruptions. They also serve as the main link between municipal departments and communities, providing feedback on reported incidents and any planned maintenance work.


Incident command teams from relevant municipal departments have been established.  These teams ensure that there are enough staff to address each of the reported incidents and to provide status updates to the community on what action the municipality in is taking to fix reported problems. Training is provided to municipal officials.


Further innovations linked to this project are currently being piloted.  These include training ordinary members of the community to carry out basic maintenance work, decentralising maintenance and supporting job creation. 


There has been encouraging feedback from municipal officials about the possibility of extending the technology to other areas of service delivery, for example to report potholes.




 For more information contact:

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Built Environment

+27 12 841 2911