Participatory budgeting in the South African local government context : the case of the Mantsopa local municipality, Free State Province
Thesis (MPA (School of Public Management and Planning))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.
This study was carried out to assess the extent of citizen participation in local government decision-making, with focus on the local government budgeting processes. A framework of participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil is used to assess participation in budgeting in the Mantsopa Local Municipality in the Free State Province with a view to drawing appropriate lessons for South Africa as a whole. The research looks at three important concepts in governance. The first is the issue of good governance. The second is citizen participation and collaboration as cornerstones of good governance. The third is participatory budgeting as an aspect of citizen participation and collaborative decisionmaking. A multiple research approach was employed, which included the use of focus group discussions, and interviews to examine the level of citizen participation in local government decision-making process within the Mantsopa Municipality. Municipal documents and records were used to analyse the existing situation within the municipality. The research found out that the political and administrative elites are still holding on to power that should be in the hands of citizens. Civil society groups are still being neglected in local government decision-making. Citizens are also not being encouraged and mobilised to take part in the budget process. The issue of racial discrimination in engaging citizens in decision-making still exists. Mostly, the white business and farming community felt that they were largely excluded from these processes.