The main objective of this article is to argue the value of public participation in
budgetary process to advance the delivery of public services. Various authors have
written about participatory budgeting and some of their views differ considerably.
The intention of this article is not to present participatory budgeting as the acme
of service delivery initiatives, but rather to assess its applicability in a community
environment to achieve a measure of success. Service delivery remains a contentious
issue – from this perspective public participation in the budgetary process is vital,
especially in identifying and delivering high quality services in the municipal
sphere. As a point of departure, service delivery is briefly discussed as a governance
deficit. Public participation and participatory budgeting are assessed as interrelated
concepts, where after an assessment of the legislative environment provides a
baseline reference regarding participatory governance in the municipal sphere.
The article then focuses on participatory budgeting, examining its development and
barriers to effective participatory budgeting and distinguishing between different
kinds of participatory budget.