Community Participation in the South African Local Government Dispensation: A Public Administration Scholastic Misnomer

  • Ntwanano Mathebula Department of Public Administration, University of Limpopo
Keywords: community participation, public participation, public administration, scholarship, local government


The interpretation, application and understanding of community participation in the South African local government discourse in particular, is ambiguous, thus, creating a more simplistic and superficial meaning for operationalization. This paper seeks to challenge the notion that community participation is a substitute in its ontological and epistemological form and connotation for public participation. Many scholars in public administration have jumped on the bandwagon of dispensation, thus creating a misnomer in relation to a distinct nature of community participation and public participation which clearly undermines the authenticity of conception within the discipline and scholarship in general. Using a variety of qualitative secondary data collection and analytical techniques, this paper interrogates the misnomer in public administration scholarship in relation to the use and
application of community participation specifically in local government. To successfully demonstrate this misnomer regarding the use, application and understanding of the concepts and their impact on scholarship, five selected articles on community participation and five others on public participation on local government published in the Journal of Public Administration (JOPA) were reviewed. The paper therefore concludes that the influential role of public administration as a scientific discipline is to forge relations with public administration as a practice for the purposes of conceptualizing and operationalising concepts and terminologies. This will ensure conciseness and bypass the contradictions which have potency of denting both scholarship and practice.

Abstract views 309
PDF downloads 336
How to Cite
Mathebula, N. (2015). Community Participation in the South African Local Government Dispensation: A Public Administration Scholastic Misnomer. Central European Public Administration Review, 13(3-4), pp. 185-199.