Between Community Protest and Community Trust: The Scope of Procedural Justice in South African Participatory Local Governance

This article aims to demonstrate that community-based service delivery protests in South Africa may be viewed as community reactions to local government decision-making processes rather than the outcomes of those decisions. Reasons for service delivery protests in literature range from unfulfilled government promises to the lack of inadequate services especially in poorly resourced areas where there is deprivation and inequality. However, evidence from research on service delivery protests in South Africa also point to an often nominally highlighted yet inadequately expounded reason: the lack of trust communities have in their local authorities’ decision-making processes. This article takes a transdisciplinary approach to participatory governance at the local government level by exploring psycho-sociological dimensions of public participation in local government. Using conceptual and empirical literature evidence on trust and procedural justice as well as South African community protest cases, the article finds that citizens may accept unfavourable outcomes if they perceive the processes as fair and their treatment as respectful and dignifying. The findings suggest that contingent on the trust environment, procedural justice plays an important role in a local community’s reactions to unfavourable service delivery outcomes. Reciprocally, these perceptions of unfair procedures have the capacity, over time, to break down trust where they exist. These findings have implications for strengthening participatory governance processes and expanding community access to and experience of local government decision-making. The article concludes that ensuring procedural justice in local government decision-making processes is a requirement for building community trust and minimizing community predispositions for service delivery protests in South Africa. The article provides recommendations for local government research and practice on procedural justice and community protests.

Doing More with Less: Suggestions for Transdisciplinary Healthcare for Rural Populations

Small populations in isolated places have problems accessing healthcare. The reasons for this are well-explained. However, Australia has rarely considered a transdisciplinary approach, preferring to stay within the existing professional boundaries of education and practice. As the Australian government continues to relinquish its role as a direct service provider, a true transdisciplinary model is required. This article proposes highly trained, experienced allied health workers fulfil the roles of several professions. Implementation of a transdisciplinary approach to allied health services requires a significant shift in policy, funding, existing service delivery structures, and education and training. However, fewer changes are required in practice. All experienced allied health workers should be able to do a holistic assessment that encompasses physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing. Small populations will remain reliant on outreach and visiting services travelling from regional centres because they do not have the population mass to support a range of healthcare professionals or the potential to recruit 0.2 of a speech therapist, 0.3 of a physiotherapist, and 0.5 of a social worker. To change a system reliant on unavailable specialist professionals, a transdisciplinary solution is critical. The approach needed from policy, funding bodies, and service delivery organisations is outlined, but are practitioners up to the challenge?

Behind the High-stakes Testing Results: Hong Kong Children Report on Aspects of Their Schooling Experiences

In this article we explore East Asian students’ lives beyond performance in high-stakes testing regimes. We surveyed 123 P5 students (eleven years old) from one school in a low socioeconomic area of Hong Kong about what they liked doing at school. We linked these questions to others asking what they wished they could do more of, as well as if they felt their teachers and friends showed that they liked them and if they enjoyed school. The results showed that the majority of students reported that they both liked school (83%) and felt liked by their teachers and friends (81.3%). Further, the data showed that if students indicated that they liked an activity “a lot,” this was linked to their perception that their teachers and friends liked them. The top three items that the students wished they could do more of were using computers for learning (59.3%); playing sports (52.8%); and playing in a bigger play area (43.9%). Girls tended to like the school activities more than the boys.