South Africa has achieved far more in 18 years in service delivery than any other country, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.
"No country could have produced the delivery we have made in 18 years," he told the SA Local Government Association (Salga) national conference in Midrand.
He said government successes in service delivery were lost in the "hurley-burley" of competitive politics.
Non-delivery of services often had to do with problems inherited from apartheid, he said.
"There is a common tendency to look at government at all levels as if those who are governing have brought the problem, instead of deep seated challenges [from] the past."
Government was working very hard to address these problems, Zuma said.
Government was shy to boast about its successes and this then created a space for those criticising government to sound like they were telling the truth.
"All I am calling for is balanced reporting about the progress we have made in this country."
Conference delegates welcomed Zuma in song with a smattering of people holding up two fingers - a sign favouring Zuma to serve a second term as African National Congress president.