Delegation for relations with South Africa : Introduction

D-ZA: Delegation for relations with South Africa 

The European Parliament established its standing Delegation for relations with South Africa (D-ZA) in 1994, when apartheid was abolished.

Previously, relations had been frozen between the European and South African parliaments. The European Parliament's creation of a new, permanent ("standing") delegation marked its desire to support the country's move towards an inclusive and democratic political system.

Composition

The Delegation for relations with South Africa counts 16 full members, as well as a cohort of substitute members.

The Chair of the delegation is Hans van Baalen, a Dutch member of the Parliament's Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. He is supported by two Vice-Chairs: MEPs Boris Zala and Sabine Verheyen.

The Chair and Vice-Chairs are elected by the members of the delegation, while the members are nominated by the Parliament's political groups. The political balance of the delegation mirrors that of the Parliament as a whole.

Delegation work

The Delegation meets regularly in Brussels and Strasbourg to discuss a broad range of issues related to developments in the country and EU-South Africa relations.

These meetings usually include contributions from:
  • the European External Action Service,
  • the European Commission (especially DGs DEVCO and TRADE),
  • the South African Embassy,
  • researchers working on relevant topics, and
  • representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Inter-parliamentary meetings


The delegation meets with South African elected representatives regularly in "inter-parliamentary meetings" (IPMs).

Generally, one such meetings with the "Rainbow nation" is organised every year, with venues alternating between Europe and South Africa.

At the end of the meeting, the Chairs of both delegations - the European Parliament's and South Africa's - sign a joint statement summarising the previous days' discussions and conclusions.

After the 24th inter-parliamentary meeting, held in South Africa in April 2017, for example, the joint statement expressed the delegations' ambitions to contribute to the bilateral relationship, including the relationship between the two governments:

"Members from both Parliaments emphasised the importance of strengthening the relationship between SA and the EU and ensuring more active roles by both Parliaments on decisions taken by the EU and the South African Government"."

Topics

Certain topics have occupied the delegation for a number of years, and are likely to remain focus points for both sides. These include:
  • the South Africa (SA) - EU Strategic Partnership,
  • development cooperation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),
  • trade, including
    - the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and
    - the EU-SA Trade and Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA),
  • challenges to peace and security in Africa.

In addition, the delegation and its South African partners consider more topical developments. Citrus black spot disease and migration have often figured on the agenda recently, as has the current political situation in South Africa.