South Africa is nearing its 14th year of democracy during which significant advances have been made on route to realising its development objectives. However, since sustainable development implies a continuous process in which fairly limited governance models exist, certain problems often occur. In this article the issue of community participation in the context of good governance finds scrutiny. The researcher reflects upon certain issues and aspects associated with community participation and poses certain suggestions, drawn from practical public administration experience. Specifically, the concepts of community participation, stakeholder involvement, negotiation, capacity and consultation are considered against the picture of an ideal democratic system of governance. It is hoped that the thoughts contained in the article would serve to stimulate a debate, which may lead to a critical re-thinking of the way ahead for South Africa and other young African democracies.