Op-ed: Investment in ward committees is key to democratic participation in South Africa

By Paul Kariuki, 6 December
photo credit: Paul Saad/flickr
photo credit: Paul Saad/flickr
Citizen participation is an essential element of our constitutional demo-cracy. South Africa is one of the few countries in the world with a liberal Constitution that enables citizens to participate actively at all levels of governance. The government established the ward committee system in accordance with sections 72 to 78 of the Municipal Structures Act, 1998, to improve people’s involvement in local government and municipal development planning. The government had envisioned citizen-led local governance that would influence municipal decision making; involving citizens from planning to implementation, as well as evaluating municipal involvement, to deepen democracy in pragmatic ways. Although setting up the ward committees system was a novel idea, the structure does not seem to be producing the envisioned results and improving community participation in municipal governance.
Read the full article here: Mail & Guardian

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