The City as a Democratic Common Saturday 27

October 2018 10am to 4pm

Observatory Community Centre Rawson St, Observatory, Cape Town

The event is free RSVP at by the 24October

In 2017, the Civic Action for Public Participation (CAPP) was formed out of a collective dissatisfaction with participatory processes which they felt were ‘problematic, unproductive, and tokenist engagements’ leading to a loss of trust in public participation. The loss of trust described by CAPP can be attributed to the idea that participation is more of a tick-box exercise, lacks important information, is technocratic and exclusive. As a means to frame a new form of participation, the civic-led initiative hosted a series of workshops in 2016 to co-create a manifesto for public participation which will govern engagements between local government and the community.

The manifesto lays out “principles of participation’”that include transparency, information, inclusivity and accountability, and that aim to address the issue of “problematic, unproductive and tokenist engagements”. In addition, the manifesto also includes a set of mechanisms which would ensure that public participation is successful.

We believe it is important to recognize the City as a Common. The principal function of the City is to be the common house of the people who live there, the place where social life is built, where the varying needs and interests of different people and groups are discussed and compared and where conflicts are managed – a process that is integral to the social life of a city.

In 2018, CAPP used the manifesto principles as a tool to develop a draft citizen-led bylaw as a tool to lobby local government to focus on participation reform. Building on the success of the drafting of the bylaw, CAPP organize a Seminar with two objectives:

Building the capacity of Civic Organisations in public participation processes.

Working towards a Civics Organization’s plan of action on public participation.

The seminar is organized in partnership with:

  • Development Action Group

  • Heinrich Böll Foundation

The City as a Democratic Common