African and International Experiences
Edited By György Széll and Dasarath Chetty
The onset of democracy in South Africa provided South Africans with the opportunity to build a truly democratic, non-racial, non-sexist society in which there would be opportunity for all to make material, social and intellectual progress. This vision was enshrined in a Constitution intent on deepening democracy by treating people with dignity and ensuring that democratic participation was not restricted to a trip to the voting booth once every five years. To give democracy real meaning, the Constitution declared that municipalities, in particular, must facilitate public participation for true legitimacy in its development endeavours. Various mechanisms have been put in place to achieve this objective, but the process has not been without its impediments and difficulties. This book reviews the context, approaches and challenges to the public participation process using international comparisons.
Constitutions and the Transformation of Local Government: A Review of Three African States
Abstract: In recent years a trend has occurred for African constitutions to be taken more seriously than was the case twenty years ago. This can be seen as part of the growing emphasis on governance as exemplified by the African peer review mechanism and the Mo Ibrahim ratings. Local government is increasingly seen as important enough to be accorded constitutional status. This chapter will discuss in further detail the transformation in local government particularly in Kenya, Lesotho and South Africa. In these states, the past twenty years have witnessed massive upheavals in which local governance has been dramatically affected. In Kenya, the violence of the electoral experience in 2007 resulted in serious attention being given to the drawing up of a new constitution in which numerous provisions related to the overhaul of local governance appear. In Lesotho, the abolition of local government soon after independence has been significantly reversed by establishing a new system. In South Africa, the Apartheid basis for local government has been overthrown with, in many respects, strong constitutional safeguards playing a significant part in the changes made. Drawing on work in the field, participant observation, analysis of key documents and evidence from secondary sources such as the media and research based publications; the status of local government in these three states is seen in the context of national constitutions.
Both Kenya and South Africa have made strides in according a constitutional status to local government. The emphasis in Lesotho has...
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