Stakeholder participation in the planning at Alfred Nzo District Municipality
Stakeholder participation is essential throughout the planning and implementation process at a municipality to update, engage and involve the community, councillors, the municipal administration and the politicians. People that are directly affected by planning suggestions and proposals should be involved during the preliminary planning stages; this could be community organisations and stakeholders with specific interests such as the landowners, service providers and business sector. The inclusion of identified participants or stakeholders in the decision-making demands a pro-active attitude of municipal authorities and starts with an invitation to stakeholders to attend the meetings and to ensure that the meetings are accessible. A qualitative research method was used in researching this subject. This approach is beneficial to explore and understand a central phenomenon and was chosen for this research study because the views of the participants, what they perceive as imperative and substantial, provides the point of orientation. An interview schedule was used to obtain information from the officials and stakeholders at Alfred Nzo District Municipality that participate in the municipal planning process, while telephonic semi-structured interviews were used for data collection. In order to address the research aims and objectives, the data collected was analysed using thematic analysis. This study established that Alfred Nzo Municipality has low levels of efficiency with regards to stakeholder engagement. It was also observed that the planning processes in the municipality is insufficiently inclusive, that poor planning in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality has adverse effects such as withdrawal of government funds, strikes, unmet needs of marginalised groups, poor service delivery as well as a low rating in terms of municipal performance. It is therefore recommended amongst others that the Alfred Nzo District Municipality must conduct stakeholder-municipality workshops and they must improve accountability, resource mobilisation, implementation of stakeholder driven policies, and effective communication between municipality and stakeholders.