Public Participation, Electoral Dispute and Conflict Resolution Mechanisms: The Case of Moutse, South Africa, Wards 5 and 6, 2013-2016

This study examines the concept of public participation and the dispute
resolution mechanisms that can be utilised to resolve electoral disputes and
conflicts at the level of local government in South Africa. The study stems
largely from community-based participatory action research, also referred to
as café conversations. This research project was conducted in Moutse, Wards
5 and 6 of the Ephraim Mogale Local Municipality, a category B municipality
that is the smallest of the four municipalities in the Sekhukhune district. It is
a cross-border district that extends across the north west of Mpumalanga and
the southern part of Limpopo. Sekhukhune is 94% rural and 5.3% urban and
approximately 50% of the population are under the age of 18. Moutse comprises
four villages: Mamaneng-Matatadimeng, Ga-Matlala Ramoshebo, Mokgwaneng
and Tshikannosi. Research data collected in the form of community dialogues
are used in this article together with relevant journal articles, books and media
reports on the same subject. The aim of the article is to explore the importance of
public participation by community members in the affairs of their community.
The article argues that enhanced public participation can properly facilitate
members of the community to take part in the resolution of disputes and conflicts
in their community. The findings of the research are that public participation
remains an important element of a democracy, and that the public at all times
wants to be involved in making decisions that affect their rights.

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Categories: Journal of African Elections
journal of african elections vol17 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa