n Journal of Public Administration - Community participation during the 21st century South Africa : modes, attitudes and trends

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



In democratic countries such as South Africa, participation of community members in governance matters (in all three spheres) is a right. This is because the government is elected to improve the general wellbeing of the people and, therefore, community participation are required to ensure that the most pressing needs of the people are prioritised. While the government may have an indication of what the needs of the people are, a two-way relationship between community members and the government can serve to clarify instances where there are misunderstandings. Such participation could enhance public confidence in the government.

This article considers the existing modes of community participation since 1994 for provincial and national spheres of government, and since 2000 for the establishment of democratic local government. The question that guides this article is: Who wants to participate in the affairs of government? In attempting to answer this question, factors influencing community participation are considered. Furthermore, in this article a shift is undertaken to focus on the participants in the context of local government. This discussion is followed by the need to enhance community participation in matters pertaining to local government. Enhancing participation in this regard should be understood as a means of accelerating public service delivery. Finally, this article recounts community participation in relation to service delivery.

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