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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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From e-Government to Government 2.0 in South Africa

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Sudhika Palhad, Dynesan Reddy and Dasarath Chetty

Abstract: This chapter presents an overview and assessment of the current uses of social media by government at national and local levels in South Africa. By drawing on international literature in e-government and Government 2.0, this article underscores the relevance of Government 2.0 to the South African context. It is proposed that given the international and South African trends in social media and public participation, it is imperative that South African government, at all three levels, design a Government 2.0 framework that is equipped to capitalise on the new opportunities for public participation. However, as is illustrated below, many governments are struggling to effectively apply the framework and this raises important questions for the future of Government 2.0.use in South Africa.

Government use of social media for public participation is a growing field of academic inquiry. As they seek to create more ‘connected’ government, ministers, public sector agencies and other political actors are undertaking new strategies for public participation that apply new media technologies namely Web 2.0 and social media. The frameworks of e-Government, Government 2.0 and Open Government are approaches that delineate the pathway for public participation through various stages. It is important to underline here that the Government 2.0 framework advances e-government by placing emphasis on the use of social media and Web 2.0 for public participation.

Government 2.0 is the next stage of e-government and is sometimes also referred to as Open Government. Government...

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