FES in South Africa

On this website you will find  information about the work of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in South Africa. Our office is part of the extensive network of the FES, with more than 100 offices worldwide.

The guiding principles of our international work are to promote democracy and development worldwide, contribute to peace and security, help shape globalisation into an inclusive process and support the widening and deepening of the European Union.

In South Africa we contribute to policy dialogues on democracy, on a sustainable social market economy, and on North-South and South-South Cooperation in a globalised world.

We keep you up to date about our publications, events and activities in South Africa and the region. If you have any suggestions or comments or if you want to contact us, please don’t hesitate to send us an email.

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Brief History of the 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 not only the ANC in exile but also its liaison office in the then West-Germany. Within South Africa FES gave its support to the nascent black trade union movement mainly through university-based labour support organisations. Towards the late eighties the FES also facilitated dialogue between the opposition in exile and reform oriented quarters within the white establishment.

The FES was able to open in 1991 its first official office in Cape Town, which was subsequently moved to Johannesburg in 1993. Dialogue and consultation but also capacity building was offered by the FES to assist in the process of political transformation and to prepare the ANC for future government.

Before and after the 1994 elections the FES contributed with research and capacity building to the constitution-making process. Simultaneously the FES offered training and advice to the South African trade unions.

In the area of international relations FES was instrumental in setting up a new policy think tank, the “Institute of Global Dialogue” (IGD). The IGD was designed to analyse key issues confronting South Africa and southern Africa in mercurial international environment and to develop appropriate strategies for them.

Up to the present, the FES works in close cooperation with the ANC, COSATU and different civil society organizations for a better socio-economic development and for gender equality in South Africa and with the IGD on issues of international concern.

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