Planning in the face of silence: A phronetic study of the restructuring of the planning function in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality

  • Desiree Homann
  • Mark Oranje
Keywords: planning transformation, South Africa, local government


The article provides an overview of the transformation of the planning function of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality (CTMM) read against the study by Flyvbjerg (1998) of the Aalborg Project. It focuses specifically on the human experience of the transformation process and the influence that power relations had on the outcome thereof. The study is historically situated within the broader context of the restructuring of local government in South Africa following the advent of a democratic dispensation in 1994. Theoretically it is dealt with both from the perspective of organisational theory and that of contemporary planning theory. The analysis shows that the CTMM is still a strongly managerialist environment where power is vested in the organisational hierarchy. It furthermore shows that democratic ideals are yet to precipitate in the day­to-day operational activities of the municipality. The lack of regard for people is highlighted as a serious flaw in the transformation process. The role of communication as a powerful tool in exercising power is confirmed. More significantly, however, it is found that failure to communicate can be used effectively by those in power to silence the objections of the weaker party in an unequal power relationship.


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