n Journal of Public Administration - Managing HIV / AIDS policy in democratic South Africa : a systems theory revisited

Volume 40, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The greatest enemy that faces mankind in the twenty first century, after the effects of World War II, is undoubtedly, the syndrome HIV / AIDS. It is a World War III in that it has mankind of all nations as targets. The predominance however, is in Africa, in view of the causal factors that emerge from general underdevelopment. The pandemic has already taken toll on governance issues for African governments.

In South Africa the effects of the dreaded disease are equally severe. It is estimated that by 2008, 6 million South Africans could be infected by the disease; and average life expectancy is likely to fall from 60 to 40 years. Over the next decade the number of employees lost to AIDS could be the equivalent of 40 percent of the available workforce. The disease is proving expensive in terms of rising cost of employee benefits, labor turnover, on staff morale, shortage of skilled labour, and a reduction in GDP growth rates.
The above scenario of flashpoints to mankind survival requires the development of concerted and sustainable policies for combat and prevention of the disease. The advent of democracy in South Africa has had an impact on policy formulation on HIV / AIDS. The nation's Chief Executive has explained the cause of the disease from a holistic point of view and, as systems theory would postulate, there had been inputs, demands, and court decisions as feedback. This article examines the extent of HIV / AIDS impact on the South African population; it outlines the trend of inclusive policy formulation interaction amongst stakeholders, and posits that Government policy on HIV / AIDS has been holistic, both in process of policy formulation and in content, yet awareness among the most vulnerable seems minimal.

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