Factors that citizens consider as obstacles for public participation in public meetings: a case study in the City of Johannesburg
Netshimbolimbo, Molly Mashudu
Modes of democratic participation to enhance the democracy in South Africa since 1994 remain a critical issue to be considered and prioritised across all spheres of government, especially in the current era where there is technology and methods of communication with citizens are at an advanced stage. However, regardless of this technological advancement, the government had been observed utilising the “traditional” methods of engaging with citizens, despite these methods not bringing active participatory platforms. Public meetings have been one of the participatory mechanisms utilised by the City of Johannesburg to engage with citizens. The primary purpose of this research, therefore, was to explore the factors that citizens consider as obstacles for public participation in public meetings. A qualitative study, following a case study design in the City of Johannesburg, was conducted and data were collected through semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis. The study revealed that the public participation in public meetings within the City of Johannesburg (COJ) is affected by governance, management and accountability towards public meetings. However, citizens have suggested areas of improvement for the COJ towards public participation and should the city focus on those suggestions, there could be improvement in public participation in the future. The study also revealed that public meetings are no longer the most relevant public participation method to engage with the citizens, especially in the current era where citizens have busy schedules and find it hard to avail themselves for public meetings. The study revealed that there are other avenues that can be used for interacting with the public and in this regard, social media was recommended as a mechanism for active participation of citizens. Recommendations informed by participants’ views and management theories were also made. Key Words: Public meetings, Citizen perceptions, Public participation, Governance, Democracy, Accountability.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management at the University of Witwatersrand in fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Management (by Dissertation), 2017
Netshimbolimbo, Mashudu Molly, (2017) Factors that citizens consider as obstacles for public participation in public meetings: a case study in the City of Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, https://hdl.handle.net/10539/26266