The dual nature of public participation: State regulated or people–driven participation – whiter away? Part 1
The end of Apartheid overwhelmed mass political activity
During the struggle against Apartheid ordinary people were highly involved. Highly inspired by an ideal of a democratic order, individuals involved themselves in mass activity. The mass democratic movement, though coordinated at national and regional level, was deeply rooted in township neighbourhoods. Street committees and civic associations played a vital role at local level.
The grassroots organizations have slowly faded away, and in many cases have also been actively demobilised, after the fall of white minority rule. Popular participation in the social and political life of our communities was soon replaced by trappings of regular elections. Voting has been structured to take place nearly after every two years. It has shifted our focus from active involvement in politics and issues affecting us. We have now placed our hopes in political parties and charismatic personalities. Our aspiration for social equality has been quelled to a large extent. Democracy is no longer regarded as a means to an end, but an end in itself.