A delegation of members representing the International Trade (INTA) Committee of the European Parliament, the committee responsible for giving consent to the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) between the European Union and partner countries and for monitoring the EPA, undertook a working-visit to South Africa from 29 – 31 October. The visit partly coincided with a parallel visit of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with South Africa, which culminated in the 26th SA-EU Inter-Parliamentary meeting in Cape Town.
The visit of the INTA delegation, led by Marietje Schaake, offered an ideal opportunity to assess the implementation of the SADC EPA and its contribution to sustainable and inclusive growth in the country, in particular ahead of the Presidential Summit held in Brussels on 15 November.
Good to discuss with Minister Gordhan how he is tackling state capture, and how the EU can be a stronger partner to South-Africa. The ‘whistle blowing box’ by the elevator said a lot too ↘️ (deleted previous tweet after accidentally linking to a parody account) pic.twitter.com/YJ10Kyw1AP— Marietje Schaake (@MarietjeSchaake) October 29, 2018
Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan
29 October, Department of Public Enterprise
The INTA delegation kicked-off their visit to South Africa with a high-level meeting with Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan. The Minister provided a good account of the efforts to bring back stability to State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), through handling the past, reforming management and looking at future models.
The meeting further focused on issues of mutual interest, specifically relating to public procurement and localisation policy; and how the Department is tackling state capture.
Empowering Women Through Trade
29 October, 1230-1500, Wanderers Club Johannesburg
Considering that gender equality is one of the fundamental values of the European Union as well as of South Africa and the region in general, the EU delegation facilitated the "Empowering Women Through Trade" roundtable event, in association with the Black Business Council, think tanks and other associations. The platform was an opportunity for participants, including the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), to exchange ideas and experiences on how to make trade truly inclusive; how to create a framework to enhance women’s economic empowerment and increase their participation in trade.
The event reinforced the EU's commitment to promoting gender equality in all its activities, including trade policies and was an opportunity for MEPs to gain valuable insight into local experiences and challenges related specifically to gender and trade; and provided participants with important take-aways from both the European and South African perspective respectively.
We've kickstarted our the "Empowering women through trade," roundtable discussion. Gender equality is one of the fundamental values of the #EU, South Africa and the region. #SA_EUtalk pic.twitter.com/u43HcXTfW9— EU in SA (@EUinSA) October 29, 2018
Networking Engagement with EU Business
29 October, Dinner reception, EU Residence
Members were invited to a business networking function hosted by the European Union Ambassador to South Africa, Marcus Cornaro, at the official EU Embassy in Pretoria. A number of EU business representatives, including the European Chamber of Commerce in South Africa, EU Member State's bilateral Chambers of Commerce as well as members of the European Diplomatic Corps were in attendance. This was an opportunity for EU business in South Africa to engage and discuss with the MEPs on matters of EPA implementation amongst others.
30 October, Morning
The delegation visited one of the largest open-air platinum mines in the world where they were able to engage with mine management on the various sustainability measures the mine is initiating as well as engage with representatives of local communities on their rights and aspirations. A number of topics directly affecting the local communities were covered, providing a unique insight into environmental and social implications of mining and how these can be addressed.
In South Africa 🇿🇦 this week, @HelmutScholzMEP visited the @AngloAmericanZA mine in #Mogalakwena and met communities affected by it, while working alongside @IanraAfrica We need to reshape international trade policies to put people and planet first! ✊🏻✊🏿 https://t.co/cW7SmeP5FL— GUE/NGL in the EP (@GUENGL) October 30, 2018
@EP_Trade visiting #Mogalakwena Mine and consulting with local communities on their rights and aspirations @AngloAmerican @MarcusCornaro @DMR_SA @EUinSA @RichardHumphri1 @TradeLawCentre @Trade_EU pic.twitter.com/aRmpSmtJKR— Massimo De Luca (@civetdebiche) October 30, 2018
Land Reform Event
30 October, dinner
Members attended a Land Reform Panel in Cape Town together with the IPM Delegation, a very important topic in South Africa currently. The event which was attended by many eminent local experts on the topic and touched on aspects including the way forward on the land question in South Africa; land reform and redistribution; and the associated business perspective.
Meetings in the Parliament of South Africa (together with EP-SA IPM)
Honourable Fubbs, Chairperson of the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee
31 October, morning
Thokozani Wine Farm visit
31 October, afternoon
Thokozani Wine Farm, located on the Diemersfontein Wine Farm in Wellington in the Western Cape was visited by the INTA delegation to witness first-hand a successful empowerment programme in the wine industry; including women participation in wine production; and ethical wine production practices in South Africa.
"South Africa's trade with the EU in wine and spirits contribute to the transformation of the wines and spirits industry by creating new opportunities for emerging and previously disadvantaged individuals, including black-owned brands, black farmers and black owners."
This visit provided another opportunity for the INTA delegation members to engage on EPA implementation issues, specifically on Geographical Indicators (GIs) and EU funding activities in the wine production industry.
The visit to South Africa allowed members to take stock of the provisional application of the SADC-EU EPA across various sectors and to observe how it is being applied in practice through realities on the ground. Furthermore, it allowed the delegation to gain an understanding as to how the trade agreement is impacting on South African society as a whole, which is a significant consideration in line with the Trade for All strategy of the European Union.
This shocked me, as South-Africa is majority black and people have generations of wine-producing knowledge, even if not acquired in freedom, the next generation works there proudly now. Denise insisted on competing on quality, which is what she and her team do 2/3— Marietje Schaake (@MarietjeSchaake) November 1, 2018
So if you are looking for a good wine with a story, consider Thokozani, which means celebration ↘️ https://t.co/tounavxi1j— Marietje Schaake (@MarietjeSchaake) November 1, 2018