Alternative approaches to community participation beyond formal structures: evidence from Langa within the municipality of Cape Town

Adam Andani


While ward committees and Integrated Development Planning (IDP) representative forums constitute formal participatory mechanisms in South Africa’s local government, little is known about the potential of local approaches in enhancing participation in municipal planning. This paper examines alternative approaches to participation based on research conducted in Langa – a township situated on the Cape Flats of Cape Town. The paper highlights approaches to residents’ participation in planning tested during the ‘interregnum’ – the period when ward committees are in abeyance due to elections. The study found that, while IDP participatory processes facilitated awareness of participation, ward councillors were crucial in operationalising participation that reflects the diversity of the community.

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