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Koers

On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.73 n.4 Pretoria  2008

 

Deepening democracy and enhancing multi-level governance: Deficiencies of and prospects for local government ward committees in South Africa

 

Verdieping van demokrasie en versterking van multivlakregering: Tekortkomings en vooruitsigte vir plaaslike regeringswykskomitees in Suid-Afrika

 

 

P.W. Heydenrych

School for Social and Government Studies, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, Potchefstroom. E-mail: Pieter.Heydenrych@nwu.ac.za

 

 


ABSTRACT

The South African local government system has a number of shortcomings, two of which relate to the role of local government in the deepening of participatory democracy and the position of local government in a system of multi-level governance. In this article, it will be posited that a lack of depth and quality in local democracy compromises the system of intergovernmental relations. Against this background, views on participatory democracy as a theoretical background will be investigated and the development and deficiencies of the ward committee system considered.
ln order to contextualise the mechanism of local participation, selected international examples of public participation will be considered and an indication of the negative and positive aspects of these cases given. The South African system of intergovernmental relations will be investigated in order to show the importance of local government and public participation therein. Thereafter, suggestions will be made regarding the improvement of public participation in local government in order to adhere to the requirements of democracy and, as a result, to enhance and legitimise the system of intergovernmental relations.

Key concepts: democracy, intergovernmental relations, local government, public participation


OPSOMMING

Die Suid-Afrikaanse plaaslike regeringstelsel openbaar verskeie tekortkomings. Twee spesifieke aspekte is plaaslike regering se rol in die verdieping van deelnemende demokrasie en plaaslike regering se posisie in 'n stelsel van multivlak regering. In hierdie artikel word van die standpunt uitgegaan dat 'n gebrek aan diepte en gehalte in plaaslike demokrasie gevolglik ook die stelsel van interowerheidsverhoudings kompromitteer. Teen hierdie agtergrond word ondersoek ingestel na beskouings van deelnemende demokrasie as teoretiese agtergrond waarna aandag geskenk word aan die ontwikkeling van die wykskomiteestelsel en die tekortkomings word ook aangedui.
Ten einde die meganisme van plaaslike deelname te kontekstualiseer, word enkele internasionale voorbeelde van plaaslike deelname oorweeg en ook aangedui wat die tekortkomings en positiewe aspekte in daardie gevalle is. Die Suid-Afrikaanse stelsel van interowerheidsverhoudings word ondersoek om die belang van plaaslike regering en openbare deelname daarin aan te dui, waarna voorstelle aan die hand gedoen word om openbare deelname in plaaslike regering te verbeter ten einde aan die vereistes van demokrasie te voldoen en ook om sodoende die stelsel van interowerheidsverhoudings te versterk en te legitimeer.

Kernbegrippe: demokrasie, interowerheidsverhoudings, openbare deelname, plaaslike regering


 

 

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