The importance of participatory governance: the case of Siteki Town Council.
Simelane, Sithembile Vuyisile.
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Stakeholder participation in Urban Local Governments (ULGs) is a new phenomenon for accountability and transparency to the public in Swaziland. This study therefore seeks to describe and analyse the importance of stakeholder participation in Urban Local Government (ULG) with reference to the case of Siteki Town Council. Stakeholder engagement policies are being introduced in each local Government in conformity with the principles of good governance in relation to the constitution of Swaziland 2005. There is a need to sensitise the public on their right to consultation and participation during improvement of their respective urban area to influence decision making. Public participation leads to accountability and transparency for public centred local governance. Siteki Town Council engages the public at different times of the year and the turn-up or public response is generally way below average. This study therefore aims to ascertain the level of stakeholder awareness on ULGs responsibility with regard to service delivery. The study furthers looks into the relationship between stakeholder participation and service delivery and the effectiveness of the stakeholder engagement methods used. Lastly the study seeks to identify the effects of participation that is way below average in influencing decision making. A mixed research approach has been employed. Focus groups sampling was used with a minimum size of six people per group. The groups involved the Rates Payers Association, Siteki Youth, Siteki Market operators, Siteki Transport Operators, and Siteki Business Community. The groups have been engaged in dialogues through structured interviews. A questionnaire with structured questions was randomly distributed to the community of Siteki as targeted participants. The results of the study proved that there is relationship between, public participation and service delivery. The results have also revealed that due to lack of participatory governance, the council is executing projects completely differently from what the citizens of Siteki want them to. The study has therefore made fundamental recommendations towards effective participatory governance in Siteki.