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Public participation is crucial in the building of an effective democracy.
S. 152 (1)(e) of the Constitution requires local government to “encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government.”
This right to participation is set out in the Constitution and local government legislation. Your community can participate at various levels and through different formal and informal processes, for example:
- Participation as voters
- As residents who express their views before, during and after policy development
- As participants in ward committees and IDP forums
- As activists in monitoring the performance of local government.
Consultation and engagement between government and local communities must be “meaningful”. In practice, this means that a municipal council must publicise its activities and give enough notice and time for consultation and feedback before a decision is taken. It also means that input from the community must be reflected in council decisions.