Review Article

Governance, democracy and accountability from a network governance perspective within the city of Ekurhuleni

Jerome J. Patience, Danielle Nel
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 10, No 1 | a554 | DOI: | © 2022 Jerome J. Patience, Danielle Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 April 2021 | Published: 28 February 2022

About the author(s)

Jerome J. Patience, School of Public Management, Governance and Public Policy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Danielle Nel, School of Public Management, Governance and Public Policy, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Local government as the sphere of government that directly impacts the lives of communities must create a milieu of interacting with communities in terms of planning, execution and the monitoring and evaluation of the success or failure of its programmes. Local government has a moral and a legislative duty to involve communities thereby extending and deepening democratic and accountable government processes.

Aim: This study aimed to analyse how democratic and accountable governance can assist in creating sustainable processes of involvement of its communities. Local government is government’s main contributor to the socio-economic growth and development, not only of a country but more so, its people. The article emphasises improvement in the current processes of community involvement in strategic planning and the execution of such plans in general and at the city of Ekurhuleni (COE) in particular. It further aims to indicate to the city that its processes are not taking into account communities’ feelings of self-worth, humanity and identity.

Setting: Within the COE, situated in the Gauteng province of South Africa (SA).

Methods: The study followed a qualitative approach in terms of the interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) and the network governance theory served as the theoretical framework.

Results: The findings indicate that communities and community bodies who are to serve as actors in collaboration with the city in their planning and execution processes experience alienation from council, councillors and even ward committees and their members. Community actors are of the opinion that councillors only know them during their election campaigns, and when elections have come and gone, councillors are gone as well.

Conclusion: Recommendations include that when dealing with community affairs there should be no political party affiliation and that councillors must know that communication is a two-way tool that should benefit all parties. Councillors are to commit themselves to the improvement of community members’ lives and socio-economic upliftment.


public participation; democracy; accountability; governance; interpretative phenomenological analysis; feelings; identity; humanity; service delivery


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