mirage

Contree: 1981 No 10

Boloka/Manakin Repository

Contree: 1981 No 10

 

Contents

No. 10, July 1981

Articles


Book reviews

Editorial

To most people the individual's right to decide what is in his own interest is part and parcel of liberty. This also applies to political matters; therefore an elected government is virtually always preferable to an appointed one. even if self-government does not necessarily imply that it is more efficient or better. Since the democratic system gives the rate-paying citizen the opportunity of electing members to a body whose decisions could affect him personally. it is regarded as the ideal political system in the Western world. To the average citizen participation in matters of national interest is an important issue; this is true to a much greater extent when matters of local interest are concerned. In this issue of Contree four articles analysing different aspects of self-government at local level are published. The markedly emphasise the fact that pioneer societies existing in isolation, far away from central government authority, put a high premium on a decentralized form of administration in which they were able to take part. From practical experience they learned that. despite its competence and good intentions. no government exercising its authority from a long distance had the necessary knowledge or perspective to decide on their behalf in local matters. For quite different reasons communication between the general population and the central government today is just as unsatisfactory as pioneer societies found it to be. The situation has led to political frustration. Yet this could be obviated if the ratepayer and registered voter were more actively involved in local political and administrative matters, and regarded his democratic right in this respect also as a duty and responsibility.

Redaksioneel

Die reg van die individu om self te besluit wat in sy eie belang is, is vir die meeste mense sinoniem met vryheid. Dit geld ook die politiek; gevolglik is 'n verkose bestuur feitlik altyd verkieslik bo 'n aangestelde (benoemde) regering selfs al sou selfbestuur nie noodwendig doeltreffender of beter bestuur beteken nie. In die demokratiese stelsel word dit vir die belastingbetalende landsburger moontlik gemaak om deel te hê aan die verkiesing van diegene wat bestuursbesluite moet neem wat hom persoonlik kan raak; daarom word dit in die Westerse politieke denke as die ideale stelsel beskou. As inspraak deur die gewone burger in sake van nasionale belang belangrik is, is dit in ruimer mate ook waar ten opsigte van plaaslike aangeleenthede. In hierdie uitgawe van Contree word vier artikels gepubliseer waarin verskillende aspekte van selfregering op plaaslike vlak bespreek word. Dit is opvallend dat pioniersgemeenskappe wat 'n bestaan afgesonderd van die sentrale owerheidsgesag moet maak, 'n hoë premie stel op 'n gedesentraliseerde bestuursvorm waarin hulle ook inspraak kan hê. Praktiese ervaring het hulle geleer dat 'n owerheid wat oor 'n groot afstand regeer - ondanks sy bekwaamheid en goeie bedoelings - nooit werklik die insig en kennis kan verwerf wat nodig is vir besluitneming ten opsigte van plaaslike sake nie. Om heeltemal ander redes is die kommunikasie tussen die breë bevolking en die sentrale owerheid vandag net so onbevredigend as wat pioniersgemeenskappe dit ondervind het. Die politieke frustrasie wat hierdie toedrag van sake tot gevolg het, kan ondervang word deur groter betrokkenheid by plaaslike politieke en bestuursaangeleenthede. Dit is egter net moontlik as die belastingbetaler en stemgeregtigde burger sy demokratiese reg in die verband ook as 'n plig en verantwoordelikheid beskou.

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