Democratic transition in South Africa : a case study of the public participation in development planning on local authority level in the West Coast Region

Smith, Antoinette Rachélle (2000-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The theme of this study is the practice of participatory democracy and its link to local development. The context is the current policy trend to consider the local authority as the core development agent. Governance is seen as a partnership between civil society and local state authority. The mechanism for linking democracy and development is the concept of integrated development planning. This study investigates the integrity of the process of public participation as reflected within integrated development planning. The democratic transition in South Africa forms the backdrop of the study. South Africa, a relatively newly formed democracy, has put legislation, political and social structures in place to support the transformation it intended. The question that remains and that is being researched in this study, is whether the lOP is a sincere attempt on the side of the government to install authentic participation on the part of the local community or is this another scheme for political expediency? The study reflects the transition to democracy on social and political level and on all levels of governance. In the case of local government, it describes the transformation of the role of local government to that of development agent in its jurisdiction of governance. A case study approach is used. The democratic transition in the field of local government and its application in a specific rural development region are selected as case material. The West Coast Development Region, a demarcated development region of the Western Cape, has been chosen as a testing ground for a number of reasons, but most importantly, because this region has taken the lead to implement the newly passed policy of integrated development planning in South Africa. The region also offered the most favorable circumstances for the study as it has been subjected to systematic and sustained development and capacity building inputs from the state since the elections in 1994. These include capacity building of ROP forums and Spatial Development Initiative. An empirical study of the process of public participation within the integrated development planning in this region was done after the first round of the process in 1997/1998. A group administered questiormaire is used to measure the knowledge and attitudes of participants who attended the workshops that were held by the local authority as medium of participation. Two measurements, one at the start of the workshop and one at the end, provided comparable data on changes in attitudes and levels of knowledge. The results indicated definite change in knowledge levels, but did not impact significantly on the attitudes of participants. The findings are presented here and form the basis of a wider study in local democracy and development to be proposed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die tema van hierdie studie is die praktyk van deelnemende demokrasie en die verband met plaaslike ontwikkeling. Die konteks is die huidige beleidsrigting wat die plaaslike owerheid as die sentrale ontwikkelingsagent beskou. Regering word gesien as 'n vennootskap tussen die burgerlike gemeenskap en die plaaslike staatsowerheid. Die meganisme om demokrasie en ontwikkeling met mekaar te verbind, is die konsep van geintegreerde ontwikkelingsbeplanning. Hierdie studie ondersoek die integriteit van publieke deelname soos dit manifesteer in geintegreerde ontwikkelingsbeplanning. Die demokratiese transformasie van Suid Afrika vorm die agtergrond van die studie. Suid Afrika, 'n relatief nuutgevormde demokrasie, het wetgewing daar gestel om die voorgenome demokratiese oorgang te ondersteun. Die vraag wat gevra en ondersoek word in hierdie studie, is of die geintegreerde ontwikkelingsbeplanning 'n opregte poging is om ware deelname aan die kant van die gemeenskap te bewerkstellig of is hierdie nog 'n skema vir politieke gewin. Die studie reflekteer die oorgang na 'n demokrasie op sosiale en politieke vlak sowel as in alle vlakke van regering. In die geval van plaaslike regering, word transformasie in die rol van die plaaslike owerheid na die van ontwikkelingsagent in sy regsgebied beskryf. 'n Gevallestudie benadering word gebruik. Die demokratiese oorgang op die gebied van plaaslike regering en die toepassing daarvan in 'n spesifieke ontwikkelingstreek word gebruik as gevallestudiemateriaal. Die Weskus Ontwikkelingstreek, 'n afgebakende ontwikkelingstreek van die Wes-Kaap Provinsie is gekies as toetsingsgebied om verskeie redes. Die belangrikste hiervan is omdat hierdie streek die leiding geneem het om die nuutgeproklameerde wetgewing van geintegreerde ontwikkelingsbeplanning in Suid Afrika te implimenteer. Die streek het ook die mees gunstige omstandighede gebied vir die studie, aangesien dit sedert die 1994 verkiesing onderwerp is aan volgehoue en sistematiese ontwikkelings- en bemagtigende insette deur die staat. Dit sluit onder andere in kapasiteitsbouprogramme vir HOP forums en 'n ruimtelike ontwikkelingsinisiatief. 'n Empiriese studie is gedoen oor die proses van publieke deelname in die ge'integreerde ontwikkelingsbepanning in die streek kort na die voltooiing van die eerste rondte daarvan in 1997/1998. 'n Groepgeadministreerde vraelys is gebruik om die kennis en houdings van deelnemers wat werkswinkels bygewoon het, te toets. Hierdie werkswinkels is deur die plaaslike owerheid gehou as medium van deelname. Twee metings, een aan die begin en een aan die einde van elke werkswinkel is geneem. Dit het vergelykbare data om veranderings in kennis vlakke en houdings aan te dui, gebied. Die resultate het aangedui dat daar defnitiewe veranderings in kennis plaasgevind het, maar dit het nie beduidende verskil gemaak aan houdings van deelnemers nie. Die bevindinge word hier aangebied en vorm die basis van 'n wyer studie in demokrasie en ontwikkeling wat aanbeveel word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/51672