Volume 1, Issue 1, 2007

Participation According to IAP2 Principles: Opportunity of Challenge for Integrated Development Planning in South Africa

Francois Theron, Nicky Cesear, and Ismail Davids

The authors consider the applicability of the IAP2 Core Values and Participation Spectrum in the context of a developing country which historically has lacked a ‘culture of participation’:  South Africa  They illustrate both the strengths and limitations of the IAP2 principles and guidelines through examination of the government-mandated programme called Integrated Development Planning (IDP).  The authors argue that the IAP2 Core Values and Spectrum rest on assumptions about a society’s socioeconomic and political conditions that do not obtain in contemporary South Africa.  Experience with IDP reveals a compelling need for context-specific theoretical and strategic rationales that will induce policy-makers and planners to reconsider whether they support participation in anything more than name only.  If they do not, IDP will fail to empower the public, with adverse consequences for democracy in South Africa.