In the early 1990s, South Africa became NIMD’s first country programme. Since the end of the apartheid in the 1990s, the African National Congress (ANC) had dominated South African politics. The ANC was the ruling party in the national legislature, as well as in eight of the nine provinces. Their key objective was the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, and democratic society.
The integration of South Africa into the global political, economic, and social system was a priority for its democracy. As a country isolated during the apartheid period, an African country, a developing country, and a country whose liberation was achieved with the support of the international community, it was critically important to build political and economic links with the countries and regions of the world.
The South African government was also committed to the African Renaissance, which is based on the consolidation of democracy, economic development, and a cooperative approach to resolving the challenges the continent faces.
NIMD programme in South Africa
South Africa was one of the first programmes launched by NIMD, when representatives of Dutch political parties took the initiative to assist South African political parties with defining their new roles. Together, Dutch political parties established the Foundation for the New South Africa (NZA). At a conference in South Africa, President Nelson Mandela commented that NZA’s work should be expanded to benefit more countries. After receiving more positive responses from both the South African political parties and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch political parties established a new entity in order to work across various continents: the Institute for Multiparty Democracy (IMD), currently known as NIMD.
NIMD’s programme in South Africa focused on improving the democratic culture among South African parties. NIMD also developed a regional programme with international conferences, a technical committee to prepare conference agendas, and joint activities on issues in South Africa.