n Journal of Public Administration - Developmental local government : a case - study of South Africa, J. De Visser : book reviews

Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The failure of the centralised state particularly in developing countries to facilitate development has resulted in an alternative tool being introduced, namely decentralisation. The author seeks to present decentralisation not only as an integral part of development, but more importantly as one of the key components of good governance. Given the fact that the new local government dispensation in South Africa has a developmental focus, the author found it both appropriate and convenient (he was based at the Community Law Centre at the University of Western Cape) to use his host country as a case-study as he 'believes that it offers a new and original attitude to local government". The book is basically a reproduction of the author's doctoral thesis in public law. Apart from the Introduction, the chapters of the book focuses on Institutional Principles for Decentralised Development; South Africa's Choices for local government, Autonomy in South African local government; Supervision in South African local government; Cooperation in South African local government; General assessment and institutional model for developmental local government. A notable feature of the book is the positive linkage developed between the theory and practice of development and decentralisation, thereby ensuring that it will appeal to more than an academic audience as it also highlights possible lessons that can learnt by other countries on the continent.

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