In this chapter Fjeldstad reflects on the non-payment of service charges in local authorities in South Africa. The main question he explores is how trust affects citizens' compliance behaviour. A major financial problem in many municipalities is inadequate collection of revenues, mainly due to widespread non-payment. However, huge variations in compliance exist both within (poor) communities and between communities that have quite similar socio-economic characteristics. Fjeldstad argues that the issue of non-payment is not only related to inability to pay and the existence of an 'entitlement culture', but it is also a question of whether citizens perceive the local government to act in their interest, as well as the relationships between citizens and groups of citizens within local communities. In particular, he argues, three dimensions of trust may affect compliance: (1) trust in the local government to use revenues to provide expected services; (2) trust in the authorities to establish fair procedures for revenue enforcement and distribution of services; and (3) trust in other citizens to pay their share.

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance

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