The HIV and Aids pandemic and its impact on socio-economic development in South Africa led to the development of the broad National Strategic Plan (NSP 2007-2011) with the aim to guide the country’s response to the pandemic. This document was the second plan post 1994, to deal with the pandemic, the first one being the NSP 2000-2005. However, despite addressing the HIV and Aids pandemic since the 1990s, national statistics indicate that the country still grapples with curbing the spread of new HIV infections.
The goal of the study was to investigate the alignment of the FBOs HIV and Aids service delivery with the NSP 2007-2011 in Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM). To achieve this goal, the study conceptualised and analysed the NSP 2007-2011 with regards to its implications for partnerships in addressing the HIV and Aids pandemic within the context of the social development approach. The study investigated the Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) HIV and Aids service delivery, the main partners in the field and policy implementation, to establish the extent of their service alignment with the NSP 2007-2011 and to identify and describe elements required for service delivery necessary for alignment to the policy. A qualitative research approach, using a collective case study design was utilised for the study. Data was gathered by means of two focus group interviews with the HIV and Aids Projects’ managers/coordinators in the employment of the Christian-based FBOs in Ekurhuleni. Findings showed that most FBOs HIV and Aids service delivery focus on the management of the disease, and as a result neglect the grassroots and fundamental integrative prevention services. Some difficulties in the partnership between FBOs and government were found by the study, coupled with poor communication between government and FBOs leading to the isolation of FBOs in rendering HIV and Aids services. Research findings further revealed poor application of the NSP 2007-2011 elements of effective communications, partnerships, service coordination, monitoring and evaluation including provision of support through financial resources by government to enhance FBOs HIV and Aids service delivery.
The study concluded that the FBOs service delivery in the field of HIV and Aids in EMM is not in full alignment with the NSP 2007-2011. Furthermore, it was established that without an application of the developmental approach to facilitate the implementation of the NSP elements, FBOs HIV and Aids service delivery in alignment with the NSP 2007-2011, will be difficult to achieve. The study recommended that the NSP implementation must be based on the social development model to facilitate HIV and Aids service delivery linkages amongst government departments on a broad range of the interrelated development issues caused by the pandemic. It was also recommended that future National Strategic Plans should include social developmental themes, to ensure improved alignment of FBOs HIV and Aids service delivery, namely, a rights-based approach; partnerships; economic and social development; participation and a macro and micro focus. In particular, it was noted that government needs to strengthen its partnership with the FBOs and to provide intensified funding towards HIV and Aids service delivery. Further research should be conducted to establish how the NSP 2012-2016 (RSA, 2012) has incorporated these recommendations in order to fill the gaps identified in this study.