n Journal of Public Administration - Transitions and trends in policymaking in democratic South Africa

Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This article investigates the major trends in participation in policymaking processes in democratic, post-apartheid South Africa. The major objective of the article is to analyse the changing patterns of core policy actor engagement. The analysis explores both the continuities and the change across significant post-1994 policy eras in South African politics. Significant changes followed from political turning points such as the end of Government of National Unity (GNU), the introduction of the Growth, Economic and Redistribution (Gear) strategy, and the rise to power of President Mbeki. The analysis presents a political-realist perspective on the effect of political power and political culture on policy processes. It departs from conventional policy analyses that link typical actors to each of the stages of policymaking, and that see the policymaking process as primarily a function of the legislature. Instead, the analysis follows a perspective of clusters of policy activity that involve core policy actors, and that are dispersed over three tiers of policymaking. The article identifies core policy communities (primarily located with top-political actors and policy bureaucrats) acting across policy domains. The article links these policy actor trends to political struggle, the consolidation of political liberation, and the effect of globalisation on policymaking processes in South Africa

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