Participation in rural development planning in post-apartheid South Africa : the stories of two communities
This research is about land: it is about land that was bought, was taken away, was reclaimed and eventually given back. It is also about two rural South African communities, their ties to their land and in particular, how they were affected by planning in the first five years after the end of apartheid (1994-1999). The thesis gives an overview of the history of planning in South Africa before the 1994 change in government, and of far-reaching changes to planning legislation, procedures and structures since then. It uses as its theoretical foundation the extensive literature on participation in planning, and follows a case study methodology to tell the stories of the communities. It set out to examine the changes that occurred in rural development planning practice in South Africa; whether the democratic processes sweeping the country led to a greater awareness of participation in planning; and the extent to which participation was incorporated into the rural development planning process. In addition, it discusses how planners involved in planning in the two case studies viewed their roles and responsibilities. Considerable participatory attempts were made to ascertain the communities' priorities for development. The research concludes, however, that institutional problems and political interests continued to dominate planning. The complete overhaul of planning legislation and the restructuring of local and provincial government provided a unique planning context. But these also meant that even where the political will might have existed, structures and appropriately skilled staff were not in place to facilitate or support meaningful participation by communities. Perhaps most significantly, conflicting rationalities meant that where there was a community-initiated participatory planning process, institutional priorities placed on planning officials by government meant that the communities' inputs were overridden. In spite of this, in the case where the community did plan and initiate planning. that community has shown a commitment to long-term involvement in planning for its future. In the case where participation was formulaic, it occurred sporadically and selectively. That community was - and remains - essentially disengaged from the planning process.