n Journal of Public Administration - Towards engendering developmental local government : an imperative for multi-skilled, conscientised and empowered development workers




The democratisation and decentralisation of local government in post-apartheid South Africa was put in the spotlight due to demands on service delivery, poverty alleviation and the provision of sustainable basic services. Traditionally municipalities were the providers of services but its role has since shifted in that it is now expected to facilitate and implement developmental programmes. In an attempt to address developmental challenges, which are mirrored in the devastating effects of poverty, disease, unemployment, inequalities as well as slow economic growth that does not pave way for the poor to access socio-economic opportunities, a new developmental local government system was conceived to engage communities through exploring sustainable strategies as mechanisms that bring about social and economic development.

In this paper the authors argue that development workers are the link between people and their local municipality / government. In essence, relocating development workers within developmental local government compels them to strike a balance between participatory democracy and decentralised development in partnership with the people. Thus this paper examines the nature and developmental role of development workers as public servants could play. The authors further argue that developmental local government as a precursor for mobilising resources for people-centred development requires a multi-skilled, conscientised and empowered development workers as agents of change.
Challenges and predicaments faced by development workers will be explored by a case study of 30 e-Thekwini community development workers. The authors argue that without the engine of development (development workers) municipalities are unable to reach or benefit the disenfranchised and the marginalised. For development workers to play a catalytic and developmental role, an environment that is conducive and supportive needs to be created within a people centred development framework.


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