After Izimbizo, what next? A participatory development communication approach to analysing feedback by the Limpopo Provincial Government to its citizens

22 Aug 2019

The new democracy in South Africa advocates for a community participatory approach in matters of governance using the Imbizo (plural, Izimbizo) among other channels. Existent studies on Imbizo indicate that the major motivation for organisation of such gatherings by governments appears to be interactive community mobilisation, rather than feedback to matters raised during such gatherings. However, if participatory development aided by communication is to be effective, then it is imperative that feedback is provided not only during a once-off interaction with citizens by government but also, and more importantly, as follow-up to grievances raised during Imbizo. Adoption of Imbizo as effective channels of communication necessitates a provision of quality feedback by government to service delivery concerns raised at the Imbizo. A qualitative study was conducted using semi-structured interviews with participants from three local municipalities in Limpopo Province. Findings reveal that the Limpopo Provincial Government does not provide adequate feedback to service delivery matters raised by communities during Imbizo. The study is relevant to the scholarship of government communication in the context of public discourse, which attributes growing sporadic service delivery protests to poor or inadequate feedback from government.