Since 1994, there has been a widely observed commitment in South Africa to participatory governance within both government and civil society, which has been given legal standing and encouragement through the country’s Constitution and other pieces of progressive legislation. While in many instances implementation has lagged behind the ideals of legislation and policy, it has to be said that never in the country’s history have law and policy-making and development practice been as democratic and participatory as under the present dispensation.
The Role Of Ward Committees In Enhancing Participatory Local Governance And Development In South Africa Evidence From Six Ward Committee Case Studies (Research Paper)
"Ward committees have been the focus of considerable attention by government as well as civil society, with substantial investment already made in an attempt to ensure that these structures have the necessary capacity and resources required for them to fulfil their envisaged roles as the “voice” of communities. At the same time, questions have been asked about how effective these institutions actually are; whether they are useful conduits for community involvement in local governance; whether, as “created spaces” for public participation, they are inherently capable of playing the critical role expected of them; and whether they create opportunities for real power-sharing between municipalities and citizens." [excerpt taken from the Introduction]
Keywords: ward committees, local government, democracy, municipal participation, Municipal Structures Act, Municipal Systems Act