n Journal of Public Administration - Crisis of decision-making and policy implementation in South Africa's foreign policy : reflection on two decades journey in the wilderness

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Decision-making in any democratic society is complex, cumbersome and tasking when it involves public policy in a new state. Actors involved in policy-making are numerous and in some cases, difficult to discern in complex interdependent global system. At the theoretical level, two major factors come to play in foreign policy in a state: domestic and environmental. Executive arm of government plays prominent role in policy making and implementation. Despite this, the labyrinth journey to policy formulation in the relatively new democratic state of South Africa is expected to be difficult. Though, several students of South Africa's foreign policy are of the position that African National Congress (ANC) plays a decisive role in the formulation of the state's foreign policy during its formative years, but this is hardly possible without carrying along different stakeholders at the domestic and external environments. Though, foreign policy is said to be too sensitive to be left in the hands of non-professionals, for acceptability, opinion of the in foreign policy formulation and implementation. This brings to the fore of the inputs of public diplomacy, and other groups into the South African foreign policy issues between 1994 and 2014. This paper x-rays relevant theoretical positions in public policy analysis and examines the relevance of each to the South African peculiarity 'based on three principles of "subjectivity", "temporality" and "situatedness"'. A conclusion is drawn and solutions to incoherent and inconsistent foreign policy decisions and actions are advanced.

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