Examining public participation in post-apartheid spatial development planning projects. A case study of the KwaMashu Urban Renewal Project.
Ndlela, Anele Phindile.
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This study examines public participation in post-apartheid planning projects, using the KwaMashu Urban Renewal Project as a Case Study. A qualitative approach was adopted in the investigation. This study made the use of unstructured open ended interviews and observation to obtain primary data, which was thereafter analysed though the use of the thematic method. The study revealed that the process of Public Participation within the planning field has evolved substantially within the context of South Africa. There is adequate legislation and the necessary structures for public participation are present within the community. However, there is insufficient depth in legislation to ensure that public participation has an impact on final decision making. The extent of participation in the KwaMashu Renewal Project as a whole was minimal. This is mainly due to the nature of the participatory methods that were used which did not allow the community to fully engage with the planning processes within the different sub projects. It was evident that these [participatory methods] were mainly applied to fulfil the regulatory obligation for public participation in spatial development projects. The challenges of public participation that were noted within the case study include internal politics, land ownership and illegal occupation in state owned buildings. The study recommends early inclusion of the community in such projects and allowing for the community to be part of the creative process in projects. Secondly, this study also recommends that there needs to be a diffusion of power and diminishing limits of public participation within planning projects.