Public participation and service delivery : citizen participation in implementing infrastructural programs in Ingquza Hill Municipality.
The South African governance framework has, since 1994, been praised as the best model that has been designed in the 21st century. This is because of the creation and institutionalization of a number of principles that identify democracies from dictatorships. These principles include: the decentralization of power to enable local communities to participate in the affairs of government, the consultation of communities whenever there is development taking place in their area and the opportunity to choose their own government representatives. This research paper is mainly based on the local sphere of government, it is concerned with the interaction between citizens and government in the exercise of providing services. In the study, a clear distinction between the various spheres of government in South Africa is made and magnified. The study is of a descriptive nature as it explains the process of public participation and how it is implemented, in municipalities in particular, as demonstrated in the implementation of infrastructural programs in the Ingquza Hill Municipality. At the core of the study is the examination of whether public participation processes, as currently being implemented, do contribute towards enhancing citizen involvement in the selection and prioritization of programs and projects delivered by municipalities. The question for consideration is whether these processes are adequate to enhance citizen participation and ownership in terms of their formulation and design. After observing the implementation of infrastructural programs in the Ingquza Hill Municipality through annual reports and annual integrated development plans over three financial years, the study then formulates conclusions in terms of the extent to which the public participation system can be understood, and whether it enhances citizen participation in the delivery of services. The study has found that integrated development planning in municipalities is the key process by which public participation is implemented. It has also been found that the system of public participation is compatible with the soft systems methodology. The study also concludes that although all municipalities have an obligation to implement the public participation system, they differ in the extent to which they implement it