Citizen engagement in South Africa: the case Prince Albert

V.M. Siebers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to gain insight in how South African local governments organize citizen engagement. The new South African constitution provides ways to construct and implement citizen engagement at local level. However, understanding citizen engagement at local level is still a challenge and municipalities search for proper structures and mechanisms to organize citizen engagement efficiently.

Interviews with different municipal actors were analyzed using a single case study method. As a primary unit of analysis, a specific project in which citizen engagement is organized was used. In addition, document analysis and a focus group were used to deepen understanding.

The findings reveal that citizen engagement is a viable strategy to identify the needs of the community if facilitated by a third party and that learning leadership is important when organizing citizen engagement.

The value of this research is the exploration of the citizen engagement process. It sheds light on the conditions that play a role when a local government organizes citizen engagement. As local governments search for ways to effectively organize and structure citizen engagement, insight into these conditions is helpful.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-244
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Public Leadership
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2018


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