Marius Smit deals with bureaucracy and the role of school governing bodies. Following the establishment of a constitutional democracy South African society has been undergoing a fundamental transformation.

In education, democratisation has been formalised with the redistribution and extension of power to local school governing bodies and the removal of centralised control over certain aspects of decision-making. However, a number of bureaucratic actions and incorrect decisions by education administrators have led to legal disputes that indicate a disregard for, or misunderstanding of, the democratic values and principles that are necessary to promote effectiveness and efficiency in education. The article investigates manifestations of such controversial bureaucratic actions in the light of the democratic requirements for participatory school governance with a view to identifying legal principles underpinning participatory democracy and efficient education to which administrators should adhere.

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