Original Research

Challenges of public participation in improving basic service delivery in Vhembe District Municipality, Limpopo, South Africa

Sanah T. Matloga, Ephraim Mahole, Mutshutshu M. Nekhavhambe
Journal of Local Government Research and Innovation | Vol 5 | a160 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jolgri.v5i0.160 | © 2024 Sanah T. Matloga, Ephraim Mahole, Mutshutshu M. Nekhavhambe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 August 2023 | Published: 16 April 2024

About the author(s)

Sanah T. Matloga, Department of Public and Development Administration, Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
Ephraim Mahole, Department of Public and Development Administration, Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
Mutshutshu M. Nekhavhambe, Department of Public and Development Administration, Faculty of Management, Commerce and Law, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Public participation is considered an essential element of good governance and an effective tool for the public to voice their opinion on local government issues. One of the purposes of local governance is to involve the community and community organisations in local government matters. This is laid out in Section 152 of South Africa’s Constitution of 1996.

Aim: This study explores the challenges of public participation in improving basic service delivery in the Vhembe District Municipality (VDM).

Methods: A mixed-method research approach was used to determine the challenges of public participation in improving basic service delivery in VDM. The sample consisted of 15 participants, of which 10 were given a questionnaire and five were interviewed. The International Business Machinery: Statistical Product and Service Solution’s latest version was used to analyse data collected through a questionnaire, and thematic analysis was used to analyse and interpret data collected through interviews.

Results: The study established that public members are reluctant to attend service delivery meetings because of the government’s repeated failed service delivery promises. There was also a lack of consultation, hiring of unqualified personnel in strategic positions and failure to implement the municipality’s integrated development plan.

Conclusion: The local government should actively support municipalities to address and overcome service delivery issues, such as resource constraints, corruption, instability and a lack of community engagement. Spheres of government should collaborate to find solutions by involving all parties through effective public involvement. Community-based organisations, traditional leaders and municipal councillors must be supported and empowered through workshops to acquire public participation skills and enhance basic service delivery.

Contribution: This article contributes to understanding how public participation can improve service delivery within municipalities. Public participation should become a core of good governance, stipulating that every public member must be involved in decision-making.


Keywords

public participation; basic services; consultation; municipality; Vhembe District Municipality

JEL Codes

H70: General

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

Metrics

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