A critical analysis of the nature and extent of community participation in public works programmes in South Africa.
Some of the problems experienced with regard to community participation in the Community Based Public Works Program in its first phase(from 1994to 1997) included: participatory processes were determined externally; there was uncertainty of roles and responsibilities; there was lack of clarity on the decision-making process which caused conflict. there were constraints in terms of sufficient resources, capacity and information; there was a lack of clear definition of rights and processes to address concerns raised in the participation process; unequal power relationships effected the negotiation process; and there was a lack of ongoing participatory monitoring and evaluation. Participation also had significant costs which went beyond financial in terms of time and the costs of changing attitudes and traditional ways of working. These were some of the conclusions of this dissertation which is a critical analysis of the nature and extent of the community participation process in public works programmes in South Africa. The Community Based Public Works Program (CBPWP) a post apartheid. government-funded programme that targeted "the poorest of the poor" and used labour intensive construction methods and community labour in the building of infrastructure was used as a case study to conduct this critical analysis. The aims of the CBPWP were to address infrastructure shortages, create jobs, provide training and build the capacity of communities to contribute to the development process. This dissertation includes a review of literature and theory of community participation, which finds that: participation needs to be considered in the context of its relationship with the internal development process; successful participation depends so much on the adequate provision of information, access to resources and understanding of local level dynamics; and that participation can be both a means (to improve project performance) and an end (to empower communities to participate in their own development); that it is not without costs and that the nature and type of community participation varies from purely information sharing, through consultation, decision-making and the initiation of action. This report also includes a background to public works programmes and their context internationally and locally. Public works programmes are multi-purpose and range from strategic, long-term economic interventions to emergency relief programmes. They are essentially instruments through which public spending can be directed towards the poor and range from community-based, labour-intensive infrastructure building programmes to programmes to address natural resource management goals. In post-apartheid context of South Africa in the 1990s they are intrinsically tied to transformation and reconstruction and incorporate objectives ofthe empowerment ofcommunities in the development process and the transformation of development institutions and top-down development processes. Many of these programmes in South Africa including the CBPWP recognise community participation in particular as an essential component of meeting their objectives. This dissertation builds a profile of community level stakeholders in the CBPWP and examines how these stakeholders interact with the CBPWP at each stage ofa typical project. Data from two broad evaluations ofthe CBPWP (conducted by (i) CASE and the ILO and (ii) by SALDRU and described in Chapter 5 of this report) is interrogated to do this. Research findings are then analysed (according to key research questions outlined in Section 1.5) and summarised in terms of: how communities participate in the CBPWP; what their incentives for participation are; whether they are provided with sufficient information and resources to participate effectively; who takes responsibility for ongoing community participation; a cost benefit analysis of participation for the various stakeholders; how participation should be measured and, finally, identifies important issues which need to be considered in the design, implementation and monitoring of community participation processes in development programmes.