Despite the establishment of a democratic system more than 20 years ago, South Africa still faces various challenges in terms of its social, economic and political development. Although the governing party African National Congress (ANC) was confirmed in office in the 2014 elections, the conflicts within the governing alliance of ANC, COSATU and SACP and the rising protest of the newly elected opposition parties threaten to destabilize the political system. Ongoing corruption scandals within the ANC and the fragmentation of the trade union movement further weaken South Africa’s democratic system.
Besides, South Africa faces significant economic and social issues: With a high unemployment rate, persistent social inequalities and a meagre economic growth the pressing energy crisis is hard to tackle. At the same time, South Africa has aimed at strengthening its role within the cooperation of the BRICS-states, where it regards itself as a promoter of democracy and pan-African interests, and focused increasingly on the China-Africa cooperation. What implications does this have for the EU-African partnership, given that the EU is still a major (trade) partner for South Africa? And how can this partnership help to tackle crucial social and economic problems such as precarious employment situation or the assurance of a sound energy infrastructure?
Together with its partners in South Africa the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is looking forward to bringing together experts from Europe with Mr Joel Netshitenzhe and Mr Yacoob Abba Omar from the South African Think Tank MISTRA to discuss current political developments in South Africa and the country’s role within the region of Southern Africa as well as to exchange ideas on future EU-South Africa relations.