The amount of time required to define a certain policy proposal, as well as
the policy problem itself, is logically determined by the particular issue at
hand. Issues that are complex and value-laden generally have higher and
more varied levels of involvement by various stakeholders. In some instances,
the courts may influence policy content and processes, which sometimes
renders this complex phenomenon more shapeless and fluid. The support for,
or opposition to the issues involved in the policy-making process, or even in
the implementation of the policy, further shape and form the final policy to
reflect differing values and ideological positions. The final policy involves an
extremely complex set of interactions over time. It is therefore important to
realise that successful policy-making requires democratic decision-making.
Besides the elected policy-makers, the presence of an informed citizenry
and self-organised groups may contribute valuable pieces to the final policy.
Successful implementation of the policy again requires other critical elements
like recognising citizens’ expectations, participation, and continual political
engagement. This article focuses on aspects of citizen engagement and relates
these aspects to the child support grant in South Africa in particular. The child
support grant addresses the issue of child poverty.