Community participation in Ethekwini Municipality with particular reference to ward committees

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Local government has been constitutionalised as a sphere of government and this has signified a conceptual shift from serving as administrative service delivery agents to the promotion of developmental goals and principles, namely local democracy, sustainable development, a safe and healthy environment and co-operative government. The White Paper on Local Government mandates municipalities to involve communities in facilitating development. Participation is an integral part of local democracy and it is a legislative requirement for the local community to be drawn into the process through integrated development planning, budgeting, performance management and ward committees. However, there are serious disparities between policy and practice as the success of public participation will not depend on the regulation of the system, but through innovative and creative local policies and legislation. A participatory culture should be inculcated and furthermore the appropriate and relevant mechanisms, processes and procedures should be developed. EThekwini Municipality has created an environment for active participation through ward committees. However, the active participation of the rural populace is still problematic and there are challenges that have to be addressed. Given the fact that the largest percentage of developmental backlogs are in the rural areas, which are inhabited by the disadvantaged communities, it is imperative that they are actively involved in the process of addressing these backlogs through the formal structures of community participation that have been set up.