Abstract—Community participation has become widely accepted through legislation as a critical component of managing water resources in South Africa. However, achieving meaningful participation continues to be a challenge especially for the previously disadvantaged communities. The purpose of this study was to find out whether the disadvantaged community participants find their participation in Catchment Management Forum to be meaningful. A qualitative research approach that involved the use of primary and secondary data sources were used to achieve the aim of this study. Information obtained from participants were analysed thematically. The results established that, the disadvantaged communities did not find their participation to be meaningful because their expectations have not yet been met. The reliance on community organizations also excluded the majority of the population since these organizations did not interact with the community, hence not serving as intermediaries. Also, it was observed that participants did not understand the technical nature of information presented, which may be attributed to insufficient knowledge of water resource management. It is therefore important that more emphasis be placed on the development of skills and capacity of participants to understand and make meaningful contributions, especially participants from the disadvantaged communities.
—Community participation, forum, participants, water management, water resources.
M. K. Boakye is with the Department of Environmental, Water and Earth Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa (e-mail: BoakyeM@tut.ac.za).
O. B. Akpor is with the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University of Technology, 159 Skinner Street, Pretoria, South Africa (e-mail: AkporBO@tut.ac.za).
Cite: Maxwell K. Boakye and Oghenerobor B. Akpor, "Community Participation in Water Resources Management in South Africa," International Journal of Environmental Science and Development
vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 511-516, 2012.