FES in South Africa

Welcome, Ngiyanemukela, Wamkelekile, Welkom

Welcome, to the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) website. Here you will find information about the work of FES in South Africa, on the African continent, as well as globally. We will connect you to our extensive network, with more than 105 offices worldwide and introduce you to our progressive online journals and publications.

FES in South Africa

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) shares a long common history with the African National Congress (ANC) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). From the 1980s, FES supported the ANC in exile. Within South Africa, we worked together with the evolving trade union movement, mainly through university-based labor support organizations. Towards the late eighties, the FES furthermore facilitated dialogue between the opposition in exile and reform oriented quarters within the white establishment.

In 1991, we were allowed to open up our first official office in Cape Town, which was subsequently moved to Johannesburg in 1993. We were now able to offer dialogue, consultation, as well as capacity building to assist in the process of political transformation and preparation of the ANC as the future government in South Africa. Before and after the 1994 elections the FES contributed to the constitution-making process by conducting research and through capacity building. Simultaneously, we offered training and advice to the South African trade unions.

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The FES was instrumental in setting up a new policy think tank, the “Institute of Global Dialogue” (IGD). The IGD was designed to analyze key foreign policy and international relations issues confronting South Africa and southern Africa and to develop appropriate strategies and provide consultation to the new democratic government.

Today, FES is working with a broad range of likeminded progressive partners. Our cooperation is based on social democratic values and principles of solidarity, social justice as well as peace and security. Together with our partners we are developing strategies and programs designed to overcome political, social and economic challenges in South Africa. Our common goals are a sustainable and inclusive socio-economic transformation, broad based civic political participation and a strong democratic and solidary South Africa fulfilling its role as a soft power on the regional and international level.

Our instruments for achieving these goals comprise targeted political education, information and training programs, public dialogues, action oriented research as well as publications and political consultation. Our work in South Africa is embedded in the FES Africa strategy, which is part of our worldwide international development cooperation. 


FES in Africa

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has been promoting the values of the Social Democracy in Africa for over 40 years. We work for social justice, democracy, peace and international solidarity on the continent. It has encouraged and nurtured political exchange between Africa, Germany and Europe for many years, acting as partner to political parties, parliaments, trade unions, media, civil society groups and the interested public.

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In joint programs with our partners, we strive to enable and strengthen social and democratic political participation. Together with young people, we develop ideas for shaping a better future. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung contributes to the dialogue on peace and security, migration and processes of economic transformation. We act towards strengthening the representation of workers' interests by means of political education and international networking. We can only confront global challenges such as climate change, organised crime and migration by acting jointly with the countries of Africa. Therefore we are committed to global partnership with the countries of Africa

Visit the website of the Africa Department


FES globally

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is the oldest political foundation in Germany, with headquarters in Berlin and Bonn. FES, as an independent and nonprofit organization, is rooted in a rich tradition of social democracy dating back to its foundation in 1925. The foundation owes its founding and its mission to the political legacy of its namesake Friedrich Ebert, the first democratically elected German President. The work of our political foundation focuses on the core ideas and values of social democracy – freedom, justice and solidarity. This connects us to social democracy and independent trade unions. 


Our Priority Areas

Politics Governance and Society

In this area, the FES supports the efforts of its partner to improve the quality of governance, gender equality and media through consultation, capacity building as well as through lively democratic debates.

Economic, Social and Environmental Policy

In this area, the FES supports its partners in Government, Civil Society and Trade Unions in developing and implementing appropriate policies for an economy which is sustainable, social and creates decent work through training, research and public debate.

International Relations and Foreign Policy

In this area the FES supports its partners in fostering a dialogue between North-South and South-South on issues of regional, international and global relevance through research, workshops and conferences.

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In Germany, on the European level, and globally we support and strengthen social democracy and civic participation in particular by means of:

  • Political educational work to strengthen the civil society. Our political education programs in Germany and worldwide motivate, enable, inform and qualify citizens to successfully engage in political, trade union and civil spheres. We improve citizens’ participation in social discussions and decision-making processes.
  • Think Tanks: We develop strategies on the core issues of economic, social and educational policies as well as on key issues that advance democracy. At the crossroad where think tanks, academia and political practitioners meet, we create a public discourse for a just and sustainable economic and social order on a national, European and worldwide level.
  • International cooperation: With our international network of offices in more than 105 countries, we support a policy for peaceful cooperation and human rights, promote the establishment and consolidation of democratic, social and constitutional structures and are pioneers for independent trade unions and a strong civil society. We are actively involved in promoting a social, democratic and competitive Europe in the European integration process.
  • Support for talented young people with scholarship programs, in particular for students and doctoral candidates from low-income families or with a migrant background. This is our contribution to increasing educational democracy.
  • The collective memory of social democracy: Our archive, library and contemporary history projects keep the historical roots of social democracy and the trade unions alive and provide support for sociopolitical and historical research.

One of our particular strengths is the ability to bring together key actors. Worldwide the over 105 FES-offices, while operating in regional projects, work together transnationally. The UN located offices in Geneva FES-Geneva and New York FES-New York address global issues. A central task of our international work is the strengthening of independent unions. Without strong independent unions, social justice and the implementation of fair, sustainable economic systems are not possible. We therefore, represent the interest of the DGB (German Trade Union umbrella organisation) and their members abroad. Fair Trade, and Human and Social Rights are highly on our Agenda of our international Trade Union Work. The fundamental principles of approach in foreign and security policy and the climate and energy policy, are developed transnationally. Dialog opportunities, publications and consultations in Germany contribute to ensure that political analysis, discussion and trade correspond FES-Connect and IPS-Journal. In the European project, we are committed to a social, democratic and competitive Europe. In Europe, the central themes are the future of the European Union and the acceptance of the European Idea FES-Europe.

FES South Africa is working with a broad range of likeminded progressive partners. Our cooperation is based on social democratic values and principles of solidarity, social justice as well as peace and security. Together with our partners we are developing strategies and programs designed to overcome political, social and economic challenges in South Africa. Our common goals are a sustainable and inclusive socio-economic transformation, broad based civic political participation and a strong democratic and solidary South Africa fulfilling its role as a soft power on the regional and international level.

Our instruments for achieving these goals comprise targeted political education, information and training programs, public dialogues, action oriented research as well as publications and political consultation. Our work in South Africa is embedded in the FES Africa strategy, which is part of our worldwide international development cooperation. 

Read more

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) shares a long common history with the African National Congress (ANC) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). From the 1980s, FES supported the ANC in exile. Within South Africa, we worked together with the evolving trade union movement, mainly through university-based labor support organizations. Towards the late eighties, the FES furthermore facilitated dialogue between the opposition in exile and reform oriented quarters within the white establishment.

In 1991, we were allowed to open up our first official office in Cape Town, which was subsequently moved to Johannesburg in 1993. We were now able to offer dialogue, consultation, as well as capacity building to assist in the process of political transformation and preparation of the ANC as the future government in South Africa. Before and after the 1994 elections the FES contributed to the constitution-making process by conducting research and through capacity building. Simultaneously, we offered training and advice to the South African trade unions.

Video: What is Social Democracy?

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung 
South Africa Office

34 Bompas Road
Dunkeld West
Johannesburg

+27 11 341 0270
+27 11 341 0271

info(at)fes-southafrica.org

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Got to twitter account:  @FES_SouthAfrica


26.07.2017 - 15:24

RT @ACMSWits : A panel of union federations sets the tone for our discussion on Migration, organising & the hospitality sector in SA @FES_So…
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26.07.2017 - 15:15

#FMF protagonists invites you to a booklaunch https://t.co/g8n2wdcpEY
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26.07.2017 - 09:44

African Centre for Migration and Society workshop @ACMSWits https://t.co/7N4Yrj7Bl3
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25.07.2017 - 10:23

Section 27 Aids Council Sectors Capacity Building Workshop at Albert Luthuli Municipality, Mpumalanga https://t.co/xb7uQriMyH
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