The role and impact of local government communication strategies in participatory governance: The case of Lamberts Bay
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This research examines the role and impact of local government communication strategies in participatory governance with particular reference to Lamberts Bay, South Africa. The investigation aimed at establishing whether the communication strategies of the municipality serve as an effective mechanism to promote public participation in local government. The study used qualitative research methodology, towards the realisation of the aims and objectives of the study. Accordingly, an interview schedule was used as a tool that contains the pre-determined questions prepared in order to acquire insight and knowledge of the councillors, administration, community and community organisations. In addition, observation was used as a tool to observe the dynamics of the different institutionalised structures such as the ward committee meeting, council meeting and public meeting. An empirical study was conducted to measure the role and impact of communication strategies used by the local authority in the case study area of Lamberts Bay to enhance public participation. The findings indicated that the communication strategies used by local government to encourage meaningful participation within the case study area is not effective with regard to enabling local residents to participate meaningfully in governance decisionmaking within the region. The study concluded by presenting a number of recommendations in an attempt to improve the communication between the citizens and local government and to enhance public participation of local residents.