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DUT and EThekwini Municipality to Host International Conference on Public Participation

DUT and EThekwini Municipality to Host International Conference on Public Participation

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The Durban University of Technology (DUT) in partnership with eThekwini Municipality and the International Sociological Association will be hosting the 2nd International Conference on Public Participation at the Durban ICC on 18 and 19 June 2019.

According to the Conference Chair, Prof Dasarath Chetty this important gathering will provide an opportunity to critically discuss the context, approaches and challenges faced in implementing public participation programmes, which is essential for people centred development and good governance.

The theme of the conference is, “Economic Marginalisation, Social Exclusion and Public Participation.” It will be addressed by academics, municipal and national government (practitioners), civil society leaders, students, former members of parliament, researchers, business leaders and international experts in the field.

“In South Africa, efforts have been undertaken to challenge the marginalisation and exclusion of the majority since the advent of democracy 24 years ago. These attempts include wider and more meaningful Public Participation. This is a constitutional imperative in South Africa that is intended to draw communities into direct engagement with policy and decision-making. The process of putting this into practice has not been without its challenges and contradictions. However, Public Participation remains a key means available in representative democracies to address economic marginalisation and social exclusion and to facilitate conversations with citizens,” said Prof Chetty.

The inaugural conference was held in 2016 at the Durban ICC, and the main delegates were the first cohort of 200 municipal employees. This group has since graduated with a Higher Certificate in Public Administration (Specialising in Public Participation) at DUT. The partnership between DUT and eThekwini Municipality has already seen 600 municipal employees enrolling for this programme over the past three years.

This conference featured international speakers from Germany and America and local academics and practitioners in the field of public participation and local government.

One of the key milestones from the inaugural conference was the publication of the book titled: “Making Popular Participation Real: African and International Experiences” with 15 chapters pertaining to the topic of Public Participation.

Conference organizers added that this conference presents a good opportunity for researchers and academics to disseminate current research findings, and have it interrogated by colleagues and practitioners after which selected papers will be peer reviewed for publication.

The book publication can be accessed from: https://doi.org/10.3726/b15007

Pictured: Some of the speakers who were part of the inaugural conference in 2016.

Nduduzo Ndlovu

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