Original Research

Participation in local economic development: Insights from Benoni, South Africa

Nompumelelo P. Mokoena, John N. Molepo
Journal of Local Government Research and Innovation | Vol 5 | a162 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jolgri.v5i0.162 | © 2024 Nompumelelo P. Mokoena, John N. Molepo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 August 2023 | Published: 10 April 2024

About the author(s)

Nompumelelo P. Mokoena, Department of Public Management, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane, South Africa; and Department of Public Affairs, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane, South Africa
John N. Molepo, Department of Public Affairs, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane, South Africa; and School of Government Studies, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Community participation in democratic societies cannot be overstated, as it is a fundamental pillar that allows community members to have a voice in economic, social, and political discourse.

Aim: This article investigated the significance of community participation in LED, identifying the barriers and drivers of community involvement to provide recommendations to enhance and promote greater community engagement in Benoni, South Africa.

Methods: The study adopted a mixed methods research approach. It conducted (n = 280) surveys from residents and (n = 5) in-depth interviews with municipal officials regarding the role of community participation in LED.

Results: The findings reveal five challenges to community participation: limited avenues for participation, a lack of confidence in leadership, lack of action on residents’ suggestions, limited understanding of the value and importance of participation, and lack of trust in local leadership. However, the study also established that community participation is crucial to LED and contributes to providing legitimacy to local government projects, ensuring leadership accountability and better trust in leadership, and to ascertain that residents affect changes they want to see in their communities.

Conclusion: The study concludes that community participation is vital for successful LED in Benoni. Addressing the challenges identified can lead to more effective and sustainable development initiatives.

Contribution: This research makes several contributions to the field of LED and community development. It emphasises enabling and encouraging community participation in shaping LED. The study’s insights into the barriers and drivers of community involvement provide a foundation for designing targeted interventions to enhance participation.


Keywords

community participation; local economic development; challenges; interventions; municipality

JEL Codes

D79: Other

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Metrics

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