Switzerland's relations with South Africa (1994-2001)

April, Alison Enid (2003-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The transformation of South Africa from a pariah state to an accepted and admired member of the international community is widely considered a "miracle". Switzerland, like other western nations, pledged its moral and financial support towards the transition period which followed the first democratic elections in April 1994. The cordial relations between the two countries have, however, been overshadowed by the ongoing debate questioning Swiss-South African links during the apartheid era. This is a qualitative study which has as its main purpose the analysis i.e. description and explanation of Switzerland's relations with South Africa from 1994 to 2001. Although Switzerland's foreign policy towards South Africa will be the main focus of the thesis, the importance of the various state and non-state actors, as well as the various issues that have influenced these relations will also be highlighted. Swiss-South African relations for the given period will be examined by viewing the domains of diplomacy, economy, development and culture. The major finding is that the Swiss government is constrained in its foreign policy decision-making by both domestic and foreign factors. Internally, the political institutions limit the executive powers of the federal government. Externally, the principles of neutrality and universality have provided the Swiss government with greater leeway within the international arena (economically and politically), but they have also evoked much criticism. Due to their firmly rooted adherence to neutrality and universality, the Swiss government and business community continued their ties with apartheid-South Africa, despite domestic and international criticism. A policy of discreet diplomacy was preferred above isolation. Present-day relations continue to be strong, but the Swiss government and business community should deal with their past, while South Africa must continue to seek workable solutions for its myriad of problems in order to ensure that Swiss interest remains focused on the country.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika se transformasie van 'n pariah staat tot 'n aanvaarbare en gewaardeerde lid van die intemasionale gemeenskap word algemeen as 'n "wonderwerk" beskou. Soos ander westerse nasies, het Switserland ook morele en finansiele ondersteuning vir die oorgangsfase na die eerste demokratiese verkiesing in April 1994 belowe. Die vriendelike betrekkinge tussen die twee lande word egter oorskadu deur die voortslepende debat random Switserse en Suid-Afrikaanse betrekkinge tydens die apartheid era. Die navorsing wat ondemeem word in hierdie studie is van 'n kwalitatiewe aard. Die hoofdoel is om die betrekkinge tussen Switserland en Suid-Afrika tussen 1994 en 2001 te analiseer, d.w.s. te beskryf en te verduidelik. Alhoewel die fokus hoofsaaklik op Switserse buitelandse beleid ten opsigte van Suid-Afrika is, sal daar ook kennis geneem word van die verskeie staat en nie-staat ralspelers, asook die verskeie kwessies wat 'n invloed op hierdie betrekkinge het. Switserse-Suid-Afrikaanse betrekkinge vir die gegewe periode sal bestudeer word deur te kyk na die diplomatieke, ekonomiese, ontwikkelings- en kulturele terreine. Die hoofbevinding is dat die Switserse regering se besluitneming t.o.v. buitelandse beleid beperk word deur inteme en eksteme faktore. Intern, beperk die politieke instellings die uitvoerende mag van die federale regering. Ekstem, het die beginsels van neutraliteit en universaliteit die Switserse regering met 'n grater mate van beweegruimte binne die intemasionale arena gelaat (ekonomies en polities), maar dit het ook emstige kritiek uitgelok. As gevolg van sy diep geankerde neutraliteit en universaliteit, het die Switserse regering en sakegemeenskap hul bande met apartheid-Suid-Afrika behou, ten spyte van plaaslike en intemasionale kritiek. 'n Beleid van diskrete diplomasie is verkies bo isolasie. Huidige betrekkinge is baie goed, maar die Switserse regering en sakegemeenskap behoort verantwoordelikheid te neem vir hulle handelinge in die verlede, terwyl Suid-Afrika voort moet gaan om werkbare oplossings te vind vir die talryke probleme, ten einde die belangstelling van Switserland te behou.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105336
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