Violent Service Delivery Protests in the Governance of Public Participation in a Democratic South Africa
AbstractIn a democratic country like South Africa where the Constitution is the supreme law, governance entails enforcement of the basic principle of public participation. In practice, though, public participation appears to have remained a pipe dream, especially in the sphere of service delivery. Hence, the service delivery protests are increasingly linked to the apparent voicelesness of people in the decision-making processes. Theoretically, the fierce and often violent service delivery protests could be prevented or avoided by enforcing meaningful public participation in decisions about municipal priorities. This paper makes a theoretical argument about the association between public participation and service delivery in order to insinuate that public anger breeds on the sense of voicelessness among community members. Additionally, the paper draws empirical evidence of the recent violent protests across South Africa to affirm the locus of violence in the lack of public participation within municipal decision making about service delivery priorities.
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