Assessing public participation strategies in low-income housing : the Mamre housing project

Davy, Janine (2006-03)

Thesis (MA (Public and Development Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


The role of public participation within government administration is set out in Chapter 10 of the Constitution (South Africa, 1996) which states that “people’s needs must be responded to, and the public must be encouraged to participate in policy making”. Public participation processes are encapsulated within various legislative mandates such as the Integrated Development Plans, the White Paper on Local Government (South Africa, 1998c) and the White Paper on Transforming Public Service Delivery (South Africa, 1997b). Public participation is critical to the success of sustainable development and therefore South Africa should justifiably “promote public participation, including through measures that provide access to information regarding legislation, regulations, activities, policies and programmes” (United Nations, 2002:71). The strategies implemented to produce what can be considered successful public participation is an aspect not thoroughly considered in the development process. For this reason this study delves into the various facets of public participation and the environment it operates in. The research methodology encompasses the use of the Mamre low-income housing project as case study, qualitative, primary and secondary data as well as a comparative literature study. where 100 respondents were Face-to-face interviewsed face-to-face were conducted with 100 respondents from the Mamre community, withthrough the use of a structured questionnaire. Face- to- face interviews were also conducted with a municipal housing officer involved in the projectcase study. The results of the questionnaires were then investigated againstcompared to the public participation model depicted in chapter 3 as well as the interview answers given by the municipal housing official in terms of the public participation strategies employed. Qualitative and secondary data, as well as a comparative literature survey, informs the content of this study. The study examines the role that public participation plays in development by means of the public participation strategies employed within different contexts and iii formulates a public participation model with recommended public participation strategies to be utilised within four different phases. To emphasise the importance of implementing the correct, context-appropriate public participation strategies, this study uses the Mamre low-cost housing project as a case study to demonstrate how the lack of the appropriate public participation strategies can result in the failure of sustainable development. Having considered all of the above, a number of recommendations are made which can be considered when embarking on a project similar to this one. In the case of Mamre, an opportunity for improvement still exists, as the project is yet to be completed. The recommendations are based on categorising the public participation strategies Blaauwberg Municipality employed throughout the Mamre low-cost housing project according to the public participation model presented in chapter 3. The recommendations incorporates the lessons learnt from Cupido and suggests a preproject strategy and pre-project planning workshops (which explains, amongst other things, .what authentic and empowering public participation actually is). The research results indicate that if a more structured approach is applied to existing strategies, the public participation process can be rendered authentic and empowering. Therefore, further recommendations are aimed at improving the strategies already utilised by Blaauwberg Municipality, to optimise the public participation process.

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