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n Journal of Public Administration - AIDS councils - are they promoting public participation and partnership at the local sphere of government in South Africa?
The South African National Strategic Plan of 2000-2005 and the current version of 2007-2011 on HIV and AIDS, gave effect to the establishment of AIDS councils within municipalities. Despite the existence of AIDS councils in the municipalities, there is a lack of public participation related to HIV and AIDS matters.
The purpose of this article is to establish whether the policies of HIV and AIDS councils in South Africa promote public participation and partnerships at the local government level. Public participation at local government is the key principle in governance as this is where service delivery programmes are coordinated, integrated and implemented. There is very little documented evidence on the functioning of the HIV and AIDS councils at local government level in South Africa, as this is a relatively new concept. The reviewed literature focuses on issues of HIV and AIDS with specific reference to clinical care programmes but minimal information is available on how local government, as sphere of government responsible for service delivery, responds to HIV and AIDS. Only a few articles from the review directly address the governance structures of HIV and AIDS and their link to local government.
Several bibliographic databases on HIV and AIDS council policies on public participation were searched. No restrictions were placed on the type of literature to be included; both peer-reviewed published and grey literature were searched, as the aim was to map out what is currently understood or known about HIV and AIDS councils as the vehicle of public participation at local government level.
The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) has shown to a large extent great efforts in mandating and coordinating the HIV and AIDS matters of the country. But the SANAC mandate is encountering challenges from similar HIV and AIDS structures at provincial, metropolitan, district and local municipality levels. This is a result of failures in implementation of the mandate due to factors such as inadequate skills and competency and lack of good governance at grassroots level (Agu & Onodugo, 2009). There is a need to strengthen the capacity of HIV and AIDS councils at a local level in order to affect and effect public participation.
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