Original Research

Challenges that affect smart city implementation in small and rural municipalities

Nkhangweni Lawrence Mashau, Jan Hendrik Kroeze
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 25, No 1 | a1703 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v25i1.1703 | © 2023 Nkhangweni Lawrence Mashau, Jan Hendrik Kroeze | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 April 2023 | Published: 21 September 2023

About the author(s)

Nkhangweni Lawrence Mashau, Department of Business Information Systems, Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
Jan Hendrik Kroeze, Department of Information Systems, School of Computing, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Small and rural municipalities have been struggling to address the issue of population and service delivery. In order to manage and address service delivery in rural areas. There is a need for new ways to improve the day-to-day operation of small and rural municipalities and the quality of life of their citizens, increase efficiency, manage resources and reduce municipality expenses.

Objectives: This study aims to investigate the challenges that affect the implementation of a smart city in South African small and rural municipalities.

Methods: A qualitative research methodology was employed to collect data through interviews from small and rural municipalities. The target population for this study was municipality personnel involved in decision making and those charged with smart city implementation responsibilities in South African small and rural municipalities.

Results: The results of this study revealed that insufficient Internet connectivity and a lack of digital infrastructure, technology, budget, sustainable energy and skilled workforce are the challenges that affect smart city projects in South African small and rural municipalities.

Conclusion: To execute and implement smart city projects successfully, South African small and rural municipalities should address the challenges before they start with their projects.

Contribution: The findings of this study will significantly contribute to the body of knowledge in the field of smart cities, information systems and rural studies by exposing challenges that may affect small and rural municipalities when engaging in a smart city project.


small and rural municipalities; smart city; smart city implementation; smart city implementation challenges; South Africa; qualitative methodology.

JEL Codes

D70: General

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities


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