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Making Popular Participation Real

African and International Experiences

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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.

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Public Participation as a Weapon Against Corruption

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Evangelos Mantzaris

Abstract: International literature has shown conclusively that corruption is a serious impediment to development and growth. It reduces access to public services by diverting public resources for private gain. Corruption distorts markets, occurs in both the private and public sectors and damages a country’s reputation and integrity. The article explores ways and case studies that point to the fact that public participation has and can empower and mobilise citizens to counter corruption in their communities. It shows ways through which communities can become active in participating as an agent of defence and attack against corruption. The article deals with the two main approaches to fighting corruption, i.e. the ‘top-down’ approach and the ‘bottom-up approach’ and the weaknesses of the former, and identifies through case studies a number of ways in which communities can exert their civic power and utilize civil resistance and nonviolent tactics in fighting corruption. The role of civil education as an empowerment tool and the foundation of strategies against corruption are analysed, with special emphasis on those living in remoteness and poverty, which are the most common targets of corruption.

It has been widely accepted that South Africa faces a major challenge in fighting corruption. This is a fact acknowledged by the highest echelons of government, including the President, and it has become the epicentre of popular, media and academic research at a number of levels (Mantzaris, 2013 Mantzaris and Pillay, 2013). The Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in...

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