South African cities regularly experience service delivery protests, which often target local governments who are blamed for non-delivery and non-participation. The legitimacy crisis of local democracy can be understood in the context of broader urban governance transformations since 1994, with implications for city governments’ ability to deliver services and realise participatory governance. This paper explores the initial phase of the N2 Gateway project from 2004 to 2006 as a case study of the politics of urban governance in Cape Town As a centralised and politically driven project, the experiences from the first phase of N2 Gateway shows how local actors were sidelined and how narrow participatory mechanisms failed to engage local government actors and community interests, contributing to a local politicisation of exclusion and allocation.


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pp. 22-43
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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