In order to eradicate the legacy of the past, the South African democratic government adopted a developmental approach to local government. The White Paper on Local Government (WPLG)(1998:17) defines developmental local government as government committed to working with citizens and groups within the community to find sustainable ways of meeting their social, economic and material needs and of improving their quality of life. A developmental approach aims to enhance the skills and capacity of community members by promoting their participation in their own development process (Theron, 2005a:120). TheIntegrated Development Plan (IDP) awards an opportunity to both the municipality and the community to work together on issues of local development. The aim of this study was to determine the role of community participation in the IDP process of Govan Mbeki Municipality. A qualitative research approach was followed in which data was gathered through document analysis and focus group interviews. The respondents in the study comprised eight community members and six municipal representatives. The key findings of the study indicated contrasting views between the community and the municipality’s perspectives in particular with regard to the role of the community during the prioritisation of needs and the decision-making processes. Based on the findings and conclusions of this study, the researcher made recommendations and provided guidelines for the implementation of community participation in the IDP. The researcher concluded that in order for community participation to have maximum impact, local government is obliged to create an enabling environment for participation which includes amongst others addressing the institutional obstacles and the capacity gaps within the community. The researcher finally recommended that these roles be implemented, evaluated and integrated in the current IDP process as undertaken by Govan Mbeki Municipality.
Dissertation (MSD (Social Development and Policy ))--University of Pretoria, 2008.