HIV/AIDS and the law in South Africa : the legislative responses to HIV/AIDS in employment law and their impact in the workplace : a case study of the Durban Metropolitan Unicity Municipality.
This research focused on the legal response to the HIV/ AIDS epidemic in South Africa. The response adopted by the South African legislators embraces the protective model of the law. The philosophy underpinning this legislation is to engender respect for individuals and to promote human rights and in the context of HIV/AIDS, reduce the presence of stigmas and discrimination. Such an approach is commendable however in South Africa given the nature and extent of the crisis a more proactive legal response is required. Such a response is encapsulated within the empowerment model of legislation. The aim of this research was to demonstrate the need for such an approach in a work environment. In order to do so, a study of the Durban Metropolitan Unicity Municipality was undertaken. As a public institution such an entity is obliged to follow all employment laws and guidelines. This characteristic ensures that problems and advantages that arise regarding the implementation of protective legislation can be easily ascertained. The research was conducted by using a case study approach within a qualitative research methodology. The snowball method of sampling was relied on for obtaining respondents and the data collection technique adopted was interviewing specifically, semi-structured interviewing. Members of the Durban Metropolitan Unicity Municipality were interviewed on the primary aspects of its workplace policy on HIV/AlDS, which is based on the guiding principles of the protective employment laws of South Africa. The main findings of this research suggest that the protective model of legislation has not achieved a noteworthy level of success in the workplace of the Durban Metropolitan Unicity Municipality. This finding is derived from the Iow levels of awareness of employment legislation and the workplace policy, high incidence of discrimination prevalent and stigmas still attached to one's HIV/AlDS status, and general dissatisfaction with specific provisions of the workplace policy that are based on the principles of protective employment legislation. An alternative legal response was advocated namely, the empowerment model of legislation which is much more proactive in its application. This model of law focuses on the legal empowerment of people and is conducive to stimulating positive social changes.
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