Ward committees as a mechanism for promoting community participation and service delivery: a case study of Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality.
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The transformation of local government in a post-apartheid South Africa was seen as ensuring citizens' inclusion in the policy and decision-making process, especially the marginalized communities and groups, in previously excluded societies in a country (RA 1998). The study set out to obtain information on the ward committees as the mechanisms in promoting community participation and service delivery with a case study of Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality. The study aimed to assess ward committees' effectiveness as a mechanism for promoting community participation and service delivery in Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality. The study demonstrated that ward committees' effective operation is paramount for active community participation and strengthening communication between municipalities and local citizens. In assessing the understating and conceptualizations of public participation in Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality. The focus of the study was on the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The researcher collected primary data through observation and semi-structured interviews. The researcher observed the conduct of ward committee members in the meeting with Municipal officials in Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality. The secondary data were collected from published research studies on ward committees, public participation and service delivery, and government publications and journal articles. From the findings gathered, it was evident that Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality was not doing enough to strengthen the ward committee as a vehicle to advance participatory democracy and service delivery in local governance. The study was informed by the participants' responses and opinions (the ward committee members, ward councillors, and municipal officials, namely, the office of the Speaker, the Deputy Mayor). The study concluded with recommendations for strengthening ward committees and enhancing public participation.