Stakeholders’ Participation in Water Management: A Case Study of the Msunduzi Catchment Management

Boakye M. K., Akpor O. B.


Public participation is widely accepted as a critical component of managing water resources in South Africa; hence it is strongly emphasized in the South African National Water Act. Although the importance of an enabling legislation and policy on public participation is highly appreciated; this is not sufficient enough to support meaningful participation of the public, particularly those from disadvantaged communities. This study was therefore aimed at investigating the extent of participation of previously disadvantaged communities in water management. To achieve this objective, the study employed a qualitative approach that involved the use of primary and secondary data sources. The results obtained revealed the lack of meaningful participation by disadvantaged communities in water management decisions. This is because the majority of individuals that may have interest in water resource management are excluded in such decisions at the community level. It was also observed that the organizations that attended the forum do not interact with their community, hence did not serve as intermediaries between the South African Department of Water Affairs (DWA) and their communities. The reliance of the DWA on community organizations in catchment is ineffective. In addition, the few participants from disadvantaged communities who are part of the forum do not understand the technical nature of information presented. 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 those from the disadvantaged communities.

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email:

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