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Community Participation in Local Government

Municipal councils must be accountable to their local communities. In addition, the Constitution says it is important that communities participate in local government. The most important way that communities can participate in local government is through the structure of the ward committee. (See: Ward Committees)

There are three acts which can be used to enforce accountability of local councillors and the local council. These are:

  • Promotion of Access to Information Act (No 2 of 2000) which gives people the right to have access to any information which the government has if they need it to protect their rights. Officials can only refuse to give information in certain limited situations.
  • Protection of Disclosure Act (No 26 of 2000) which protects people who speak out (whistle-blowers) against government corruption, dishonesty or bad administration
  • Promotion of Administrative justice Act (No 3 of 2000) which says all decisions of administrative bodies have to be lawful, procedurally fair and reasonable. People have a right to be given reasons for decisions taken by government officials.

There are different ways that individuals can participate in local government and influence decision-making.

These are covered in detail on page 57, Chapter 3: Democracy, government and Public Participation