Meeting with old friends
On Monday November 22th Ms. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, honoured Clingendael with a working visit. Academy Director Ron Ton and Business Director Peter Haasbroek welcomed Minister Pandor, who was joined by Ms. Maud Dlomo, Deputy Director General for Europe and the America's, Mr. Martin Slabber, Director Western Europe, and South African Ambassador to the Netherlands, Vusi Madonsela.
In the early nineties, Clingendael was in eye of the world when the institute trained high level officials from the African National Congress (ANC) party, at the request of ANC leader Nelson Mandela. This happened shortly before the iconic elections of 1994 in South Africa, that led to the abolishment of Apartheid and the official status of ANC as the leading governmental party. Some media outlets like CNN criticized Clingendael for training non-governmental activists from a movement that the USA until 1988 had marked as terrorist.
Ron Ton elaborated on the long and warm relationship between Clingendael and South Africa ever since, and the numerous trainings for South African diplomats, local administrators and (women) mediators in the past 30 years.
Minister Naledi Pandor recognized Clingendael’s part in training many ANC political leaders of the first hour and underlined the importance of democratic state building. “South Africa has always been a strong supporter of democracies and international solidarity.”
Photo by Katlholo Maifadi (DIRCO)
Peter Haasbroek: “I was touched by the Minister’s concerns and her stories on the struggles the young democracy in South Africa is experiencing. The Netherlands might be an old democracy, but we are experiencing some serious struggles ourselves as well. We should continue exchanging concerns and ideas to strengthen both of our democracies, and keep close ties.”
After Clingendael, Minister Naledi Pandor proceeded to visit Queen Máxima and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ben Knapen. Later that day she referred to the Clingendael Institute as an “old friend”. We warm-heartedly agree with her.
Minister Naledi Pandor speaks about her visit to the Clingendael Institute
Video by DIRCO South Africa
For more information on our diplomatic training courses, see our Clingendael Academy page.
Why Minister Naledi Pandor visited the Netherlands
Minister Pandor took part in the Second Meeting of the South Africa-Netherlands Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC). The meeting was chaired by Dr Ben Knapen, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
In addition to the JCC, the Minister also met with the CEO of the Port of Rotterdam and undertake a tour of the Port. The Port has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Northern Cape Economic Development Agency for the development of the Port of Boegoebaai.
Latest figures show that total trade between South Africa and the Netherlands increased by 28%, from R70 billion in 2020 to R89 billion during the twelve months to end of June 2021. The sharp increase can be ascribed to the surge in commodity exports over recent months.
The JCC focused on expanding cooperation between the two countries on bilateral and multilateral issues. In particular, the JCC discussed bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, agriculture and water, arts and culture as well as science and innovation. On multilateral affairs, the two delegations will discuss cooperation on matters relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, peace and security and human rights.