Mubangizi BC, Gray M. Putting the ‘public’ into public service delivery for social welfare in South Africa
Int J Soc Welfare 2010: ••: ••–••© 2010 The Author(s), International Journal of Social Welfare © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and the International Journal of Social Welfare.
The privatisation of some essential services in South Africa has raised severe difficulties for those for whom the idea of fees for services is quite foreign and who, in any case, cannot afford to pay for services. The government has developed several initiatives to educate people about the need to pay for services provided by local government, the largest of which was the Masakhane fees-for-services campaign. This article describes two recent initiatives that seek to engage local citizen participation, namely, Integrated Development Plans and izimbizo (or traditional forums). These are examined along with the challenges faced by local government in promoting citizenship participation in service delivery within a decentralised system of governance. The article concludes with some recommendations on how citizen participation can be enhanced so as to make the ‘public’ visible in public service delivery and thus improve social welfare services.