School of Government
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17, Bellville 7535, South Africa
Tel: (+2721) 959 3807 (work)
Email: email@example.com (work)
John J Williams, PhD (Illinois, USA) is a professor in the School of Government, University of the Western Cape. Since the birth of democratic South Africa in 1994, Professor Williams has been engaged in various capacity building and training programmes throughout the country. His current research interests include Development Planning, performance management, service delivery, constitutional governance, citizenship, democratic rights, social change, public policy analysis, community participation and development planning in local government. Some of his publications, in pdf, are available at firstname.lastname@example.org
Williams, JJCLACSO Southern Paper Series, Working Paper Series No. 3
Williams, JJIn A Cornwall & VSP Coelho (eds) Spaces for Change? The Politics of Citizen Participation in New Democratic Arenas. London: Zed.
Williams, JJCritical Dialogue: Public Participation in Review, 3(1): 16-23This paper argues that local government elections constitute an important form of community participation, especially...This paper argues that local government elections constitute an important form of community participation, especially in a democratising society such as South Africa, even though they are a formal and regulated form of participation. While regulated participation through elections might be constrained by time, locale and infrastructural resources, their overall significance to âbring government closer to the peopleâ should not be underestimated. It would seem that it is in this regard that local government elections have, since the inception of the democratic order in South Africa in 1994, played an important role. The importance of such elections lies not merely in terms of the specific votes cast for particular parties, but also to the extent to which specific communities, albeit through regulated participatory spaces, are allowed to debate and consider issues germane to their everyday, lived experiences in their particular communities. Based on a number of opinion and statistical surveys of the 2006 local government elections in the Western Cape, this article suggests that participatory spaces are important only when they are readily accessible to voters at the grassroots level; and the extent to which their specific needs are aired, accommodated and influence the existing, or subsequent,
planning priorities of local government. It is thus precisely at the inception and formulation phase of specific local government policies â often mooted during election campaigns â where people at the grassroots level can ensure that their voices are heard, and do indeed count, in local government planning frameworks.
Williams, JJPolicy Studies, 27(3): 197-217The South African post-apartheid constitution provides for community participation in the construction, implementatio...The South African post-apartheid constitution provides for community participation in the construction, implementation and evaluation of integrated development planning at local level. This article reviews and assesses community participation in practice drawing on the findings of a range of research projects conducted in Cape Town since 1994. It is argued that contemporary understanding of community participation in South Africa is informed by the memory of community struggle a radical form of participation against the racist apartheid State. This means that communities have a richly-textured history of strategic mobilization against exclusionary and discriminatory government practices at the local level. It is precisely this repertoire of radical strategies that can and should be revisited and adapted, to advance the interests of the materially marginalized communities at the local level. âPeople drivenâ development programmes through Integrated Development Planning (IDP) in post-apartheid South Africa in general, and Cape Town in particular, have thus far been largely rhetorical and not substantive. Hence, the enduring challenge of the perennial question at the grassroots level remains in whose interest is community participation really driven?
Health Facility Boards in the Western Cape, South Africa: The Chall...
Williams, JJUWC Working Paper, No. 5, Citizenship, Participation and Accountability seriesThis document is not currently available
Williams, JJCritical Dialogue: Public Participation in Review, 2(1): 19-27Community participation is important in post-apartheid South Africa with regard to the design, implementation and eva...Community participation is important in post-apartheid South Africa with regard to the design, implementation and evaluation of integrated development planning at local level. This paper evaluates a number of research projects to assess community participation in Cape Town from 1994 to 2004. Evidence, however, suggests that community participation has been largely rhetorical and not substantive. Thus, with a view to encourage strategic engagement of communities with local
authorities, this paper suggests a range of conceptual, theoretical and practical steps to advance transformative planning practices at grassroots level. Hence the importance of substantive elements of community participation such as the initiation, identification, orientation and authentication of participatory processes.
Williams, JJIn N Kabeer (ed.) Inclusive Citizenship: Meanings and Expressions. London: Zed
Williams, JJDevelopment Southern Africa, Vol. 22 (1): 47-65This article argues that there is a dialectical relationship between development planning and citizenship in so far a...This article argues that there is a dialectical relationship between development planning and citizenship in so far as planners, as institutional decision-makers, ensure a meaningful everyday lived experience for ordinary people. In post-apartheid South Africa, however, the statistical record signals a disjuncture and structural hiatus between what should be the basic rights of ordinary people and the role of local government in promoting citizen-driven development planning at the grassroots level. This article deals specifically with the Wallacedene community, who took the planning authorities to court to have their constitutional right of access to adequate housing and related services enforced. The implications of this court case vis-a-vis development planning are considered and recommendations are proffered.
Change Needs Proper Planning
Williams, JJCape Times, 9 JuneThis document is not currently available
Williams, JJIDS Bulletin, 35(2)The South African post-apartheid government has made a number of laws since 1994 that make it possible for ordinary p...The South African post-apartheid government has made a number of laws since 1994 that make it possible for ordinary people to play a meaningful role in the affairs of local authorities. Local authorities are, for example, obliged to consult citizens with regard to Integrated Development Planning at grassroots level. Towards this end, the City of Cape Town established Areas Coordinating Teams (ACTs) in 1999 in several townships with a view to empowering historically marginalised and excluded communities. This article investigates whether or not ACTs are an effective medium to represent the voices of ordinary people in matters of local governance. It concludes that community participation, as in ACTs, appears to be functionally truncated, institutionally manipulated and are thus structurally limiting. This means that ACTs merely serve to ratify rather than influence/change official behaviour and that communities are only consulted as long as they support the goals of particular officials or politicians.
Ward Committees and Sub-councils
Williams, JJCommunity News, Cape TownThis document is not currently available
Williams, JJCommunity news, Cape Town
Williams, JJUWC Working Paper, No. 3, Citizenship, Participation and Accountability seriesThis paper forms part of my research on social change, a topic often neglected in the scholarly world of the new Sout...This paper forms part of my research on social change, a topic often neglected in the scholarly world of the new South Africa, as if the floating signifier ânewâ necessarily designates a new lived experience for ordinary people at grassroots level. Hence the apparent presupposition that there is no longer any need to probe, disclose and understand the contradictions, tensions, fissures and struggles associated with transforming the unequal relations of power institutionally. Contrary to this assumption that conflates the ushering in of a new political order with social change, the daily lived experiences of ordinary people at grassroots level suggest in very graphic terms that the existing relations of power, especially institutionally, in the planning bureaucracies of local authorities, councils and municipalities, are yet to be transformed to make real the promises of participatory democracy as ensconced in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996...
Human Rights and Citizenship in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Williams, JJIn Critical Arts, 15 (1&2): 24-45This document is not currently available