An evaluation of citizen participation in low-income housing settlement in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa the case of the Tyutyu housing project in Buffalo city municipality: (1985 – 2010).

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University of Fort Hare


The provision of housing is a developmental practice and development cannot prevail without public participation. This is echoed in the Manila Declaration on People‟s Participation and Sustainable Development, 1989 as follows, “Public participation is an essential part of human growth that is the development of self-confidence, pride, initiative, responsibility, cooperation. Without such development within the people themselves, all efforts to alleviate their poverty will be immensely more difficult, if not impossible” (Burkey, 1993:56). Housing provision plays a vital role in meeting basic needs; dwellings provide the security required for basic functioning and are thus essential for both human development and the alleviation of poverty. South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. It includes the municipal legislative framework that provides for community participation in decision-making at municipal level. However, in practice, citizens have had little experience of this, which is particularly relevant in contexts of severe poverty and failure by the state to provide basic services. This case study demonstrates the challenges faced by the Centre for Public Participation (CPP), a national NGO, when working to influence central government policy on citizen participation. It also explores the role and influence of international donors in promoting this agenda. From the literature review, it was evident that service delivery is essential in the communities, and, as such, government departments and municipalities have a critical role to play. In order to achieve this goal, an interview was conducted with various interviewees. The participants ranged from the youth to the elderly citizens in the community as well as government officials. The main patterns that emerged from the collected data related to the dissatisfaction of the community about the lack of consultation. It would be advisable for government, especially municipalities, to take cognizance of the results and concerns, in an effort to improve and ensure the effective service delivery, as stipulated in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) document.