Community participation in local governance : a systemic analysis of Ethekwini Municipality's design for effectiveness.
Mbambo, Vincent Mondli.
MetadataShow full item record
The study did a systemic analysis of eThekwini Municipality's design for effectiveness looking at community participation in local governance. The study was conducted by using Participatory Action Research methodology. The researcherwas able to determine emergent themes. The findings revealed that firstly, people view the Municipality's system of governance as unresponsive. This is because of lack of effective mechanisms of communication between the councillors, officials and the communities. Moreover, there is lack of delivery of services to the community, resulting in people feeling that their needs are not being addressed; therefore there being no need to participate. Secondly, there is also a general feeling that local government does not consult with the people when taking decisions on crucial matters. Thirdly, there is uncertainty about whether community inputs have any influence on decision-making. This concern was expressed in a variety of ways, including the feeling that their input did not matter because the essential decision 'appears' to have already been made before the participation process commencesor ends. Fourthly, there is overwhelming evidence that there is a direct correlation between participation levels and unhappiness and dissatisfaction around the levels of service delivery of the municipality. Lastly people at the grassroots level do not have knowledge on how government structures function. This makes it difficult for them to have meaningful and effective means of participation. All the undesirable effects outlined above, provide a sound and compelling basis on justification for a Community Participation Policy design. While the legislation prescribing citizen and community abounds, local government authorities have remained indifferent; or they have not been visible in pursuing methods and mechanisms that foster citizen participation in project management and decision making processes. As a result of this study, the Council has made the amendment of Section 12 of the Municipal Structures Act to ensure that eThekwini Municipality becomes a ward participatory type of municipality. Also, community participation policy has been developed to change the present situation or context that invited the problem on ineffective participation. The policy aims at changing mindsets for municipal officials so that they take the issue of involving communities more seriously.