|dc.description.abstract||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.||en_US