This paper explores the nexus of public participation and conflict, and the potential for conflict transformation through forms of participation and deliberation, in the context of post-1994 South Africa. The urban research setting to investigate this relationship is Walmer Township in the city of Port Elizabeth drawing on the writing Henri Lefebvre, among others. It further discusses forms of resistance such as protests and vandalism and how these have brought about new participatory spaces for a selected group of township residents to engage with the state and it draws attention to the obstacles to the transformational potential of these collaborations. It concludes that there exist different structures of community based organisations and many initiatives of mutual selfhelp in Walmer Township, but that these initiatives are not directed at radical transformations like those proposed most prominently by the Abahali baseMjondolo shack-dweller movement in the South African context. This paper argues that Walmer Township residents rather aim for empowerment in close relation to established structures and the existing system and do not significantly challenge these. To help facilitate conflict transformation, this paper argues, Walmer residents would have to develop more extensive and radical alternatives to the existing system.