President of South Africa Visit

On 22 November, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, addressed both Houses in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords and paid tribute to the close international ties between the two countries.

The UK and South Africa have a long history, and the UK have played a significant role in the establishment of the modern Republic of South Africa. President Nelson Mandela addressed both Houses in Westminster Hall on 11 July 1996, acknowledging the UK and its “partnership for freedom, peace, prosperity and friendship”.

This came after decades of tension in the international community on the difficult legacy of the apartheid regime in South Africa. A combination of international sanctions in 1986 caused significant economic pressure on South Africa, and the subsequent release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. After 4 years of negotiation, Nelson Mandela was named President and apartheid came to a complete end in 1994. 

This historic state visit reinforces the importance of strong bilateral relationships and in remembering the rich history that has led to this point.