The study of public participation in Cato Minor during and between elections, 2018-2019.

Hleliwe Khumalo

(She/Her)

PhD Researcher

Faculty of Arts & Humanities

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Overview

The study was made to look at how the people of Cato Minor viewed public participation, if they were aware of it and if they knew what it was about.
I wanted to examine some of the realities that the residents of Cato minor are subjected to, with regards to the participation experiences during and in between elections, because there’s often this notion that people protest just because they are drawn to violence. I actually wanted to understand the reasons why the residents of Cato Minor resort to protest. I also just wanted to controbute to the body of knowledge by highlighting some of the realities that the residents of Cato Minor are subjected to and that led them to protest.

Key Findings

    How to apply research

    • Listen to what people have to say. For the longest time, NGOs and researchers would come in with this mentality of saviors who provide solutions, but they also need to be attentive to the communities, what their members say, what they want, the challenges they face… So, approach research and development from a more bottom-up perspective.

    Let your research make a social impact

    About this research

    This research was independently conducted and did not receive funding from outside of the university.

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      UN Sustainable Development Goals

      This research contributes to the following SDGs

      About this research

      This research was independently conducted and did not receive funding from outside of the university.

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        What findings means

        My most interesting finding was that the residents are aware of other forms of participation, but that they resorted to protest because these other formal channels didn’t work for them and because they knew that protest actually works better. Some residents still use these formal channels, but a lot resort to protest.

        What I concluded was two-fold: First, the ineffectiveness of the formal channels generates a lot of voter apathy. So residents refrain from voting because promises that were made prior to voting were not fulfilled. Second, residents resorts to protest because they do not receive adequate service delivery.

        Methodology

        The research was a qualitative review of semi-strucutured interviews of residents of Cato Minor provided by the Center for Civil Society and the Center for Social Change, and a qualitative review of news articles from 2 of the most reputable south African newspapers.

        The main limitation is that I was limited in terms of how much was written about the protests in Cato Minor. Using only these two newspapers was also limiting. There may have been more visible sources, or other sources who generated more information on the topic.

        Glossary

        ConceptDefinition
        Public participationPublic participation is the public taking power in order to have an equal voice, to be represented. It was defined in terms of domination structures, when the dominated and the disadvantaged try to bring about meaningful change in the community.
        ProtestProtest was defined in terms of concrete actions to reach a political goal. So, taking to the streets, blocking roads, organizing marches…

        The full paper is not available open access

        Thank you to

        for helping to prepare this research