Evaluation of public participation and poverty alleviation programmes : the case of the City of Johannesburg (CoJ)
The aim of this study was to evaluate the public participation and poverty alleviation programmes in South Africa in general, with particular reference to the City of Johannesburg Municipality (hereafter referred to as CoJ). The study also seeks to understand whether the CoJ as the local sphere government or municipality is adhering to and being guided by the Republic of South African Constitution, 1996 (hereafter referred to as RSA Constitution, 1996). The RSA Constitution, 1996 as a legislative framework upholds, amongst many others “the principles of a democratic government that is responsive to the needs of the community”. The consultation, participation and involvement of all relevant stakeholders within CoJ municipality are deemed to be on the “right path” and its efforts to try as well as addressing issues of poverty. The elements mentioned above should be guided by the only legal and policy document. According the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 and the subsidiary legislation such as the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act of 1998, Act 117 of 1998 and the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act of 2000, Act 32 of 2000, provided a strong legal framework for participatory and cooperative democracy in the local government sphere. Section 152(1) of the Constitution of 1996 places an obligation on local government to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government. Section 152(c) and (e) of the Constitution of 1996 also sets out the objects of local government. Participatory democracy was a key element of two of these objects, namely: to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities, and to encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in the matters of local government. Yet it was also evident from the Joburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy (2011:82-83) that the fundamental principles of good governance, as reflected in the Constitution, included the rule of law, accountability, accessibility, transparency, predictability, inclusivity and a focus on equity, participation and responsiveness to people’s needs. Governance was the most critical factor in eliminating poverty, driving development and continued delivery of services and goods within the CoJ. The study revealed from the interviews conducted with sampled administrative officials (senior and middle managers) in Social Development Department under the Unit of Food Resilience Unit that intervention was a key to the dynamics of addressing the public participation and poverty alleviation programmes in the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) municipality. The study revealed further that there was a lack of holistic approach within the CoJ in relation to public participation and poverty alleviation programmes before they are established and implemented within the same municipality. As a result robust consultation, encouraging engagement, active involvement and full participation in programmes that are intended to alleviate poverty in the country especially CoJ was critical.
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