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Title:The limits and possibilities of local initiatives for change: the case for participatory planning
Authors:Atkinson, D.
Heymans, C.
Periodical:Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:political change
local government reform
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589348808704887
Abstract:Can significant political change in South Africa be pursued at the local level? If so, which institutional avenue is the most promising - the representative or administrative arms of the local State? This paper explores three possible avenues for such strategies at the local level: first, the opportunities, if any, offered by one of the major government innovations, viz. regional services councils; secondly, a locally-initiated process of political negotiation (in East London in 1986); and finally, a locally-initiated exercise in participatory planning (Pietermaritzburg 2000). Although these case studies do not offer unambiguous prospects for change, it appears that the political stalemate at the local level requires protagonists to consider possible administrative avenues for change. This article argues that change via participatory planning is more promising than working through representative forums, whether municipal councils or regional services councils. The perceptions and interests of local officials form more fertile ground than those of councillors, who usually cannot overcome the conservatism of their constituencies. Bibliogr.