The need for enhanced community consultation and participation is clearly
articulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Constitution),
and also in terms of a variety of developmental local government legislation.
Community members are now expected to play a more meaningful role in terms of
their involvement in civic matters. Community members who play an active role in
local government matters and who are well-informed, will have greater confidence
in their local government structures. However, various recent studies on community
participation reveal that the envisaged participatory role has generally not met the
expectations of government. A great deal of apathy still exists, especially regarding
matters pertaining to local government.
The article reviews the need for community consultation and participation from
a variety of perspectives within the South African context. Certain strategies to
enhance public participation are reviewed with emphasis on the third sphere