The Durban University of Technology (DUT) in partnership with eThekwini Municipality and the International Sociological Association hosted the 2nd International Conference on Public Participation at the Durban ICC on 18 and 19 June 2019.
Conference Chair, Professor Dasarath Chetty, said the event provided 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.
Various academics, municipal and national government (practitioners), civil society leaders, DUT staff, DUT students, former members of parliament, researchers, business leaders and international experts in the field, addressed the conference under the theme, “Economic Marginalisation, Social Exclusion and Public Participation.”
Welcoming the delegates to the event, was DUT’s Deputy Vice – Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo, who spoke on behalf of the Vice – Chancellor and Principal of DUT, Professor Thandwa Mthembu.
“The conference seeks to find better models, practices and strategies that can be used to ensure that challenges faced by practitioners and with regards to economic marginalisation, social exclusion and public participation are addressed and implemented. The underlying principal is being people – centred, social justice of course, which then aims to ensure that we adhere to good, governing principals,” she said.
She added some examples like homelessness, public queues, the access to education, climate change and how sustainable peoples’ habits are in terms to climate change, are some of the issues that need to looked at.
“DUT’s strategic plan is also student – centred just like the theme of the conference, and we are now working on a new plan, aiming to be people – centred. Universities need to collaborate to make new policies,” she stressed.
Sessions over the two – day conference tackled an array of issues ranging from exclusion to public participation, morality and justice, theoretical challenges in public participation, activism, healthcare and communication, economical marginalisation and social exclusion, to name but a few.
At the end of the conference, Prof Chetty added that the conference was a huge success, in terms of the number of people (333 attendees) who were in attendance. “Also, the event was a success in terms of the quality of the presentations, the quality of the discussions and I think the relevance of the issues raised for a practical approach to public participation. The feedback we received from the speakers, discussions and the general attendees was very positive,” he said.
Prof Chetty also reiterated that they plan to host the Public Participation conference every two years.
Pictured: DUT’s Deputy Vice – Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo and Conference Chair, Professor Dasarath Chetty, at the event.