Public leadership and participation: understanding the experiences of South African local government officials’ engagement within informal settlements in the Western Cape

05 Nov 2020

Studies of public leadership increasingly recognize the importance of collaboration as a mechanism for delivering public policy. Despite theoretical and empirical developments in this direction, insufficient attention has been given to developing country contexts. The literature is also analytically superficial with regard to the involvement of citizens and communities. This article uses qualitative evidence from a South African Western Cape municipality to explore how officials engage informal settlements in service delivery. The article discusses how officials mobilize communities, navigate relations, and frame agendas for the purposes of public engagement. This provides an entry to understand officials’ practices and leadership influence.