Categories of public policies : a contemporary post-colonial and post-apartheid South African perspective

26 Jan 2021

South Africa experienced apartheid and colonialism, like many countries in the world, and after attainment of independence retained its colonial and apartheid name unlike most former colonies. Perhaps that category of public policy (symbolic policy) or a name change policy had not been formulated by 1994 and that normally begins at the political policy making level. Various oppressive, discriminatory, racial and autocratic categories of colonial apartheid policies were implemented by consecutive settler colonial apartheid regimes in South Africa. Within the apartheid and colonial framework such categories of policies were considered legal and constitutional, albeit at the detriment of the majority indigenous non-settler original populations of South Africa. With the advent of independence, the new democratic government formulated and implemented an avalanche of different categories of policies aimed pivotally at correcting the past unequal socio-political and economic conditions perpetuated by apartheid colonial settler rule. These policies included constituent, distributive regulatory and self-regulatory policies. Distributive and redistributive policies, material and symbolic, substantive and procedural policies were formulated and implemented. Policies on collective and private goods are also important. The above are some of the main categories of public policies that are important in the study and understanding of public administration and public policy. A qualitative research approach was used to obtain information. Distributive policies during apartheid focussed on wealth creation and distribution amongst settler households, companies and settler-overseas corporates and families. Consecutive settler apartheid governments did this essentially because colonialism was propelled by and premised on the need to extract economic resources and generate wealth for settlers as opposed to developing local non-settler populations which were used as sources of cheap labour from self-governing territories and black homeland republics of Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, and Ciskei (Eidelburg, 2009). This paper will focus on examining two categories namely constituent and distributive policies.