Remodelling citizen engagement and service delivery: the prospects of social audits in South Africa
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The HSRC was invited to participate as an independent observer of two social audits in Cape Town, the first trials of their kind to implement this methodology in South Africa. Researchers Elme Vivier and Diana Sanchez Betancourt share their insights and reflections on the process.
Meaningful engagement between local governments and communities, especially the poor and most vulnerable, is a fundamental part of good governance. It is encapsulated in the constitution and National Development Plan (NDP), and further defined as a mandate of local government in the Municipal Systems Act of 2000 and Municipal Structures Act of 1998.
The NDP in particular establishes active citizenry as necessary for democracy, accountability and development. Engagement processes should therefore enable and realise citizen agency as an integral component of governance, where citizens are partners in decision-making and service delivery processes.
A number of participatory initiatives that explore new and innovative ways for citizens to engage in local government and service delivery processes are emerging across South Africa.