n Journal of Public Administration - Public participation and engagement in local governance : a South African perspective

Volume 45, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Engaging citizens and users of services in policymaking and the design and delivery of services is not new. But now it is increasingly being seen as a key to good governance in most democratic countries. Because of this there have been a vast number of new programmes and initiatives designed to ensure greater citizen participation in local governance. Public participation creates a sense of ownership where citizens are given an opportunity to express their views. The article argues that participation by the public must be a key principle in the democratisation process and in promoting good governance. Public participation and engagement is an opportunity and strategy which must be a priority for both the government and the citizens in strengthening the democratic nature of government and promoting accountability. The article concludes by emphasising that South Africa has instituted various initiatives to enhance public participation and engagement in local governance. Thus for participation to be successful, governability and participation must be balanced, and participation must be concrete with visible outcomes.

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