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A study of public participation in Cator Manor during and between elections (2018-2019).

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The main purpose of this study was to examine some of the realities that residents of Cato Manor are subjected to with regards to their participation experiences and expectations during and between elections. The literature argued that protests are exacerbated in the informal settlement and identified Cato Manor as one of the informal settlements. The study was based on qualitative research methodology, as it aimed to acquire the feelings and lived experiences of Cato Manor residents and the ways in which the mainstream media has written about the area. This study has sought insight from the residents of Cato Manor to answer these research questions: a) what are the perceptions and attitudes of Cato Manor residents' on protest as a form of public participation? B) What are the perceptions and attitudes of Cato Manor residents' on voting as a form of public participation? C) What methods of participation do residents of Cato Manor prefer? The findings of this study confirm that protest is a dominant form of participation in Cato Manor when it comes to engaging in the political process and expressing dissatisfaction with the lack of service delivery. The study has revealed that residents are aware of other forms of participation but resort to protest because they believe it to be the only language that the local authorities understand – formal structures of participation for them, takes time to produce the desired outcomes. The shared experiences, expectations, and stories of the residents who were part of this study were analysed using the framework of Miraftab's theory on 'invited' and 'invented' spaces of citizenship. Miraftab (2004) argues that in 'invited' spaces, actions taken by the poor aim to make the poor cope with the existing social and political inequalities with no intentions of challenging the status quo. While in 'invented' spaces the poor often resist the dominant systems of oppression and exploitation. This theory provided the study with a meaningful explanation for the different forms of public participation that residents of Cato Manor engage in during and between elections.


Masters. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.