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Making Popular Participation Real

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.

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e-Citizenship: A Panacea for Citizen-Driven Services?


Surendra Thakur, Ndivhoniswani Tshidzumba and Richard Millham

Abstract: This article examines the nature and extent of e-citizenship activities as demonstrated in case studies within the Republic of South Africa (RSA). The post-Apartheid country has come of age having turned 21 in 2015. RSA is a country with a vibrant culture of community activism. This activism has led to an increasing number of community protests, over unfulfilled promises. One reason for the protests is unfulfilled promises, given South African current constraints, made by alternatively overly ambitious or ‘reckless’ politicians to the electorate. There were 162 community protests in 2008, 314 in 2009, and 470 in 2012 sometimes with tragic and fatal consequences. The trend shows an escalation. At least 43 people have been killed in the period 2009 to 2014. As a developmental economy, South Africa may struggle to meet these demands. This challenge multiplies in the face of a global recession. The article looks at the new and emerging uses of technologies such as social media to solve citizen centric challenges. The study is ethnographic because it studies responses to two particular systems. It also surveys instances where citizens mobilized support towards self-help, and regulating online behavior. A literature review was conducted from journals, books, websites and popular social media for evidence of e-citizen activities not directly attributed to a city, provincial (state) or national initiative.

The world is becoming digitally connected and instant. Communities may now instantly communicate, in real-time over a wide range of...

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