The role of ward commitees in influencing community participation in the Free State province: a case study of ward 12, 14 and 19 in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality
Mgolozeli, Mxolisi Aron
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The main aim of this study was to determine the role of Ward Committees in influencing community participation in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, as there are known challenges that face Ward Committees in discharging their duties. The findings and recommendations will be important tools to assist Ward Committees in improving the quality of life of the people in their wards. The data were gathered through interviews and a qualitative approach was utilised. The findings show that Ward Committees faced challenges in taking important decisions for the benefit of communities. However, Ward Committees are regarded mainly as an advisory body. Furthermore, the tension between Ward Councillors, Ward Committees, and Municipalities have a negative impact on issues affecting community participation. In addition, the role of Ward Councillors, Ward Committees, and Community Members in the Integrated Development Planning was found to be unsatisfactory. These structures did not have knowledge of the Integrated Development Plan process and thus could not take part in decisionmaking. It is recommended that municipalities train and capacitate Ward Councillors and Ward Committees in terms of all municipal processes, including the budget process, as Ward Councillors and Ward Committees play an important role in influencing community participation.