DPI Comparative Study Visit to South Africa, 9-16 June 2019

Between the 9th and 16th of June 2019, DPI carried out a comparative study visit (CSV) in partnership with South African-based organisation In Transformation Initiative (ITI) on the theme “Bringing a process back on track: Lessons Learnt from the South Africa experience”. The purpose of the visit was to provide a diverse group of influencers from Turkey the opportunity to learn from the experiences of the negotiations to end Apartheid in South Africa. The study visit, which took the participants to Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, provided access to key protagonists of the period leading up to the negotiations, the negotiations themselves and the resulting state of post-apartheid South Africa. Participants engaged with the first-hand experiences of these actors, from each major political standpoint, who played significant roles in the conflict resolution process and continue to play important roles today. Through these carefully planned series of meetings, participants were exposed to the major challenges and successes encountered during the peace process spearheaded by F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela respectively. The experiences shared with the group led to insightful lessons being learnt and a deeper understanding of conflict resolution processes being forged. The event, as well as providing an overview of the process in South Africa, examined many different key themes. Discussion focussed on conditions that enable negotiations to begin – dubbed ‘talks before talks’. The architecture of the South African peace process was also explored whereby participants heard about who was involved and how they engaged with each other. The role of media and security structures in the peace process was examined in separate sessions. An overarching theme of the CSV was to look at keeping the process going during difficult times – a particular focus here was given to the breakdown period and subsequent resumption of the negotiations between the African National Congress and the National Party. Participants also engaged with speakers on the subject of drafting a new South African Constitution and Bill of Rights which would safeguard individual rights on an equal basis for all. Finally participants discussed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was set up in the wake of apartheid as a means of seeking justice for all victims of the conflict. The participants were hosted by ITI Directors Roelf Meyer, former Chief Negotiator for the government; Mohammed Bhabha, ANC negotiator and former Member of Parliament; ANC’s Ebrahim Ebrahim, former Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; and Ivor Jenkins, former Managing Director, The Institute for a Democratic Alternative for South Africa. Other speakers that addressed the group to share their experiences included Former Minister of Safety and Security Sydney Mufamadi; journalists Peter Fabricius and Liesl Louw-Vaudran; former Research and Analysis Manager Nel Marais of the South African Secret Service; Dr Michael Sutcliff, former Chair of the Municipal Demarcation Board; Mathews Phosa, former Premier of Mpumalanga and former Member, National Executive Committee, African National Congress; High Court of South Africa judge Jody Kollapen; former Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Fanie du Toit; Kraai van Niekerk, former Minister of Agriculture; Yunus Carrim, former Deputy Minister of Communications; former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Albie Sachs; and former Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, Johnny de Lange. Additionally, participants were hosted by the Turkish Ambassador to South Africa at her residence in Pretoria and accompanied by former political prisoner Ebrahim Ebrahim on their visit to Robben Island. The CSV was part of the project ‘Supporting inclusive dialogue at a challenging time in Turkey’, supported by the EU and the Irish, Dutch and Norwegian governments. A full transcript report of the meetings that took place as part of this visit is forthcoming. Please refer to the gallery section of the website for photos of the events and to ‘In the media’ for media coverage.