Citizen participation crucial to good governance and administration in South Africa

Before 1994, the majority of South Africans, notably blacks, were not enfranchised and therefore could not participate in the administration and governance of South Africa at most levels. The new government undertook to change the top-down managerial style prevailing in the public sector and to exchange it for a bottom-up approach and commit itself to participatory democracy. This would allow for a maximum degree of citizen participation in the government and administration of the country. This article gives definitions and explanations of governance, administration and participation, deals with the concepts and practice of participatory democracy and bottom-up management in the public sector, and analyses constitutional provisions for good governance and ‘clean’ public administration. Citizen participation involves public access to governing bodies and public accountability. One method of combating citizen apathy is the encouragement and facilitation of public participation. There must be opportunities for citizen participation in local government and community organizations. Values and principles governing South African public administration refer to high ethical standards; the need to increase efficiency, effectiveness and economy; the emphasis on a developmental public service; non-racial, non-sexist, impartial service delivery; responsiveness; accountability; transparency, and the elimination of political elitism. Bibliogr., sum.

Title: Citizen participation crucial to good governance and administration in South Africa
Authors: Hilliard, Victor G.
Kemp, Norman D.
Year: 1999
Periodical: Politeia: Journal for Political Science and Public Administration
Volume: 18
Issue: 3
Pages: 40-67
Language: English
Geographic term: South Africa
External link: http://www.unisa.ac.za/Default.asp?Cmd=ViewContent&ContentID=11578
Abstract: Before 1994, the majority of South Africans, notably blacks, were not enfranchised and therefore could not participate in the administration and governance of South Africa at most levels. The new government undertook to change the top-down managerial style prevailing in the public sector and to exchange it for a bottom-up approach and commit itself to participatory democracy. This would allow for a maximum degree of citizen participation in the government and administration of the country. This article gives definitions and explanations of governance, administration and participation, deals with the concepts and practice of participatory democracy and bottom-up management in the public sector, and analyses constitutional provisions for good governance and ‘clean’ public administration. Citizen participation involves public access to governing bodies and public accountability. One method of combating citizen apathy is the encouragement and facilitation of public participation. There must be opportunities for citizen participation in local government and community organizations. Values and principles governing South African public administration refer to high ethical standards; the need to increase efficiency, effectiveness and economy; the emphasis on a developmental public service; non-racial, non-sexist, impartial service delivery; responsiveness; accountability; transparency, and the elimination of political elitism. Bibliogr., sum.