This study is about the perceptions, feelings, attitudes and knowledge of people towards government with regard to service delivery and participation with communities in order to accelerate social development. Government's enthusiasm to get things done often results in development not occurring at all. Entering into balanced partnerships with the private sector and communities needs to be explored a lot deeper. It must be borne in mind that people's attitudes, perceptions and feelings may differ according to the different strata of government. The study was undertaken to ascertain how people feel and thereby assess how effective government has been in the past seven years. This in turn will enable government to focus its efforts in the right direction. The study took into account various theoretical issues regarding the role of the state in developing a nation, the importance of knowledge and the management thereof as well as the changing face of development over the years. The shift in paradigm of the study of development is discussed as a matter of importance with structural adjustment programmes often resulting in slowed development and negative economic growth. Often schools of thought in development try to impose their thinking, but what this paper proposes is that schools of thought are not of importance here but quality of life in terms of social development and empowerment are. The study was conducted by means of three focus groups whereby each focus group had different characteristics. After the focus groups were conducted coding of the information gathered took place so as to facilitate analysis and interpretation. The study found that people are generally happy with the efforts of national government but that the delivery of service by regional and local government does not meet their expectations. It is also clear that the private and NGO sector seem to concentrate on the big urban townships whilst ignoring the plight of rural areas. The road ahead seems to indicate that consultation must take place and be improved with the communities as well as with big business who wish to develop their social responsibility programmes. It is recommended that local government be improved in terms of its effectiveness and responsiveness to its communities. Private sector must also re-assess its role in social development in the communities of its employees. The importance of this is then that government and private sector can work together in partnership in order to accelerate the pace of development. The credibility of government amongst the people as well as the reinforcement of democracy is at stake and the development of impoverished areas by ways of innovative strategies can only benefit all the peoples of our country.
Thesis (MA (Sociology))--University of Pretoria, 2004.