NDA: Effective and Accountable Citizenry Engagement Study

STATUS: Completed
PROJECT LEADER:Van der Bergh, GM (Mr Gray), Mabugu, M.R. (Prof Margaret), Owusu-Sekyere, E (Dr Emmanuel)
OTHER TEAM MEMBERS: Booysen, AS (Ms Denise), Hart, TGB (Mr Tim), Jonas, S (Mr Siyanda), Tsoanamatsie, N.L. (Ms Nthabiseng), Mupela, EN (Dr Evans), Masvaure, S (Dr Steven), Mathebula, JH (Mr Jabulani), Motala, SY (Ms Shirin)
DEPARTMENT RESPONSIBLE: Economic Perfomance and Development (EPD)
RESEARCH OUTPUTS: Enhancing active citizenry engagement in South Africa

Abstract

The aim of this project is to establish new channels through which government could improve its engagement with civil society. The essence is to enhance citizenry participation in governance through information gathering and sharing forums and platforms between the citizenry and government. Citizenry participation has an important role to play in bringing about the needed transformation in South Africa. Chapter 15 of the NDP suggests that the state should focus on engaging with people in their own forums rather than expecting citizens to engage with forums created by the state. While these platforms can enable government to inform, they also enable citizens to give feedback to government and monitor performance and ensure accountability. South Africans need to use the avenues provided for in the legislation and others to help shape the development process and hold the government to account for the quality of services it delivers. These channels will also allow all development actors (the individual, communities, NGOs, government and even the private sector) to use this information flow to develop strategies together that enable citizens to best claim their rights and exercise their responsibilities as envisaged by the Constitution. The National Development Agency (NDA) has identified Community Development Foundations/Forums (CDF) as one of the drivers of NDPs active citizenry call to which they can align their capacity building and community development strategy and thus would like to gain more insight into these developmental organs. This is to be achieved in two ways. Firstly, to conduct desktop research on the nature of CDF initiatives in South Africa, with a particular focus on how CDFs engage with government structures and interventions. Secondly, the study explores a selection of existing CDFs in order to understand their initiation, development, experiences and outcomes. Overall the study will highlight the successes, challenges and opportunities that can still be explored in order to advocate for this type of structure as a means of enhancing an active citizenry. This is a 10 month study which is expected to lead into a longitudinal study of 36 months The CDF study will explore the strengths, successes, failures, challenges and opportunities in enhancing citizen participation institutions such as community development forums, trusts and committee structures in South Africa with the aim of strengthening effective citizen participation that responds to the call for active citizenry. The outcomes of this study needs to feed into the National Development Agency (NDA) strategy as improvement of its mandate to capacitate civil society organisations to effectively engage with government on social and development issues in the country. Furthermore the study must identify those areas that require more research in order to have a holistic understanding of the development of CDFs in each municipality in the country.