Evaluating the Implementation of Public Participation in Service Delivery Planning in the Democratic Age: A Case of South African Municipalities
Keywords:public participation, service delivery, planning, consultation, collaborative planning, decentralisation
The main objective of this article is to evaluate the implementation of public participation in service delivery planning in the democratic age. Over the past few years, there has been a shift in the responsibility of service delivery planning from a centralised (national) level of government to a more decentralised (municipal) level. Contemporary perspectives on planning suggest that the responsibility is no longer regarded as a hierarchical process, but rather as a collaborative process that involves the active participation of citizens as key stakeholders. The notion of public participation is regarded as a crucial factor in the democratisation of service delivery. This is a desktop study, also known as a conceptual study, that is based on collaborative planning theory and democratic decision-making theory to develop ideas and arguments. The article highlights the importance of public participation in service planning, emphasising its significance despite the intricate structures, obstacles, and substantial administrative challenges involved. The assessment is conducted to determine the viability of implementing practical strategies that can effectively support a sustainable service delivery process. The findings of the article indicate that the involvement of the public in integrated development planning (IDP) processes is of utmost importance in ensuring the long-term viability of service delivery. This study posits that it is imperative to assess the continued applicability of the integrated development planning tool in effectively addressing developmental obstacles in rural regions of South Africa. In addition, it is recommended that future studies prioritise the assessment of whether the practice of creating the service delivery budget implementation plan separately from the (IDP) process is not conducive to the emergence of service delivery protests. This would involve investigating the potential misalignment between these two factors across multiple municipalities.
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