A 'new experiment in local government': The Local Health Commission: A Study of Public Health and Local Governance in Black Urban Areas in Natal, South Africa, 1930 - 1959
Caesar, S. Mary
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The Local Health Commission (LHC) was established in 1940. Its significance lies in the fact that it adopted a public health-based approach to local governance and that it delivered health and welfare services to residents of the neglected black and multi-racial urban areas. Even though its mandate was the antithesis of the goals of urban apartheid, the LHC expanded its scope after the National Party came into power in 1948. This dissertation is firstly, an institutional history of the LHC. Secondly, it examines the ways in which black urban residents practiced in municipal institutions by demanding that the LHC not only fulfill its mandate but, that it also amend its programs in order to meet their needs. A third and final theme of this dissertation is the role of Advisory Boards in addressing the public health crises specifically, ways in which the ABs held the LHC accountable. By exploring the LHC through these three themes, this dissertation addressed larger historical questions: firstly, the role of white liberal bureaucrats in the development of public health and urban governance in South Africa and secondly, the nature of black people’s participation in state institutions before 1994.