The role of ward committees and need for public participation with reference to local government in South Africa

27 Mar 2015

In terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996) as well as additional ?developmental? local government legislative prescriptions, local authorities are now required to implement structures and strategies to facilitate enhanced public participation and consultation. The article highlights the role of ward committees in this regard as well as the additional responsibilities assigned to local authorities in terms of the new developmental mandate. Prescriptions emanating from a number of Acts of Parliament concerning the role that local authorities and local communities should play to enhance community consultation are reviewed. In this article it is argued that ward committees will need considerable nurturing and development if they are to succeed in meeting their mandate. The prevailing problem of apathy regarding local government affairs in South Africa is also highlighted.