Responsive citizens are community members who actively participate in the realization of their rights and in the fulfilment of their duties. The right to public participation requires any public administration, including municipalities, to foster participatory democracy on the basis of informed and empowered citizenship.

In addition to the right to vote, citizens also have the right to ongoing interactions with the people they elected. Municipalities must, therefore, foster a culture of community participation by creating mechanisms, processes and procedures for community participation; providing information; giving notice of meetings and other events; allowing the public to these meetings and providing documentation to the public; and creating a website that contains all the relevant information.

What does the right to participate mean for community members?

The Municipal Systems Act grants us the rights to contribute to municipal decision-making; to submit recommendations and representations; to receive prompt responses to our communications; to be informed of decisions that affect us; to be informed about the finances of the municipality; to demand that meetings are open, free and fair; and to use public facilities and access public services.

We also have responsibilities namely to observe municipal mechanisms and procedures; to pay all our municipal bills; to respect the municipal rights of other community members; to allow municipal staff onto our properties and to comply with all relevant by laws.

There are also some general things responsive citizens should do such as voting, actively communicating with our local municipality, act responsibly towards members of the community, and report all illegal activities.