POWER RELATIONS IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL AIDS COUNCIL, IN RELATION TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF
In 2003 South Africa welcomed the introduction of the Operational Plan with an urgency to start implementing the roll-out of ARV in the public health sector. The Operational Plan details a multi-sector response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It specifically recognizes the critical role of ARVs in the treatment of people with HIV/AIDS. It aims to ensure free, universal access to ART through the public sector. It is estimated that in 2004 about 500 000 South Africans had AIDS defining illness and were in need of life-saving ART. The Operational Plan envisaged that within five years, all South Africans in need of treatment would have equitable access to this treatment. South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) was given the task of guiding the implementation process of the policy. The SANAC institution had a political approach to the Operational Plan where there have been patterns of power and influence within the institution in the implementation process. This research set out to explore power relations within SANAC in the attempt to execute the 2003 Operational Plan. In order to explore this problem a combination of policy analysis and interviews was used. A large section of the analysis involved comparison between the interview data and comparing that with available literature. Key influential individuals involved in SANAC policy implementation were interviewed and their answers to pertinent questions were noted accurately. The results of the research are that the power relations of instrumental players in the HIV/AIDS policy implementation process within SANAC strategically influenced the implementation process of the Operational Plan. The time context within which the Operational Plan was implemented under the SANAC governance of HIV/AIDS policies in South Africa was crucial for the needs of the South African population. The research concludes that power dimensions within SANAC affected the implementation of the plan. Public policy making has been described as “a single concept that designates both the processes and contents of government and the practices of governance” (Booysen, 2006, p163). Policy depends on the behavior of actors, such as government agency, officials or legislature. In the case of the 5 Operational Plan this is fundamental in establishing the failures of the plan thus far. Although the Plan itself is complimentary, the messages conveyed by SANAC on treatment and management of the pandemic is confusing, contradictory to the plan, and most of all lacks proper justification. May (2002, p228) clearly states‟ that “…bureaucrats and interest group forces influence the design and implementation of administrative rules for carrying out policy”. Our minister of health has clearly signaled mixed messages to our people resulting in much confusion and disorientation around proper implementation and administration of the policy.
MM thesis - P&DM
HIV/AIDS medical response, HIV/AIDS political response