An overview of legislative prescriptions pertaining to public consultation and participation in South Africa

20 Mar 2015

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) and the White Paper on Local Government, 1998, contain specific prescriptions pertaining to the need for enhanced community participation and consultation regarding local government matters. In terms of new ??developmental??, local government legislation such as, inter alia, the Structures Act (Act 117 of 1998), the Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000) and the Municipal Finance Management Act (Act 56 of 2003), the requirements for community participation are taken further. In this article, specific legislative prescription pertaining to the need for community consultation and participation, particularly at the local sphere of government, are reviewed. This is done against the background of the new developmental role assigned to the local government in South Africa which emphasises democratisation, citizen participation and the empowerment of citizens and communities regarding local government matters. As ward committees are viewed as potential structures to bridge the gap between local communities and their elected representatives (councillors), an overview of the role of ward committees is also undertaken in the article.