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Puzzle: Our work covers diverse fields of activity

Our work covers diverse fields of activity ; HSF

Fields of activities

The Hanns Seidel Foundation opened its office in South Africa in 1991 to support the peaceful transition of the country towards an all-inclusive, non-racial democratic society. Today, the HSF has offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Together with our partner organizations we are committed to the promotion of the fundamental values of the South African Constitution.

We support educational initiatives and research projects and partner with key south African public and civic organisations in order to promote the national dialogue and progress on pressing social, political and developmental issues. Through this work, the Foundation aims to support the sustainable social and economic development of South Africa. An important aspect of the HSF cooperation with South African institutions is also to facilitate an exchange with Government, the Judiciary, the Police and the public in general in order to combat crime and to strengthen violence prevention initiatives.  

The projects of Hanns Seidel Foundation are funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Bavarian State Chancellery.

Dialogue Programme

"Racism in a digital age" - A lively panel discussion with diverse speakers at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg

"Racism in a digital age" - Panel discussion at the Nelson Mandela Foundation

Debbie Yazbek; Nelson Mandela Foundation

Partnering with the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) and the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO), the Hanns Seidel Foundation is working with two renowned local organizations that contribute to shaping social dialogue and  discourse in South Africa.

Current political and socio-economic issues are taken up with both partner organizations and discussed in seminars, workshops and conferences with decision-makers from politics and business, academics, representatives of civil society organizations and interested citizens. Many of the events receive extensive attention in traditional and social media, and video recordings or podcasts are often made available online.

With support from the HSF, both organizations have integrated dialogue programmes into their broader work, facilitating focused research and direct advice to decision makers from different sectors and Parliament to enable better policy making and implementation.

Follow activities by reading articles in the News section of this website.

On the occasion of the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture held by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in July 2020, we produced a short introduction video reflecting on the topic of the lecture "Tackling the Inequality Pandemic: A New Social Contract for a New Era". Watch the video here.

Civic Education

Debate image - Facilitating active citizenship: young people need opportunities to debate topics relevant for our democracy

Facilitating active citizenship: young people need opportunities to debate topics relevant for our democracy

Flow Communications

The project Civics Academy of the Hanns Seidel Foundation in South Africa is an online education initiative, which offers video and audio content aiming to inform and to strengthen democratic values and active citizenship.

On the Civics Academy website we cover educational topics related to democracy, governance, elections, political parties, the justice system, the Constitution, economics, civil society and human rights.

Civics Academy partners with diverse stakeholders involved in youth education and empowerment initiatives.

Since 2015, Civics Academy materials have enjoyed great popularity. Ministries, educational organisations, schools, universities, political parties and numerous private users make extensive use of them. Besides promoting the importance of civic education amongst decision-makers the videos and podcasts also encourage modern forms of teaching.

Together with the Department of Higher Education and Training, Civics Academy has developed the Lecturers’ Guides”, which aim to assist lecturers at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges to facilitate fun and interactive classes that promote active citizenship and voter education among their students.

Civics Academy furthermore supports the development of national and regional networks in the field of civic education, e.g. Civic Education Network for Eastern and Southern Africa, CENESA.

Follow activities by reading articles in the News section or on our Facebook and Twitter pages or on YouTube.

Vocational Training

A group of students - vocational training for young people

Vocational training for young people

Bergzicht Training; Bergzicht Training

Since 1992, the Hanns Seidel Foundation supports the Bergzicht Training Centre in Stellenbosch. The primary focus of this non-governmental organisation is the training and job placement of untrained and unemployed women and men from disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape.

By teaching individuals market-related skills and providing them with the tools needed, Bergzicht Training is addressing one of the most pressing problems in South Africa and the area - high unemployment in poor communities.

The HSF is proud to have been part of the Bergzicht Training success story since the very beginning. By equipping students with practical skills through its iPOWER (Self-Empowering) Foundation Programme and the Advanced Programmes  focused on  Child Care, Health and Frail Care, Food Service Assistant and Food and Beverage Service training, as well short courses in Employability and Computer Skills, Bergzicht Training prepares its graduates for the world of work.

To date, Bergzicht Training has trained more than 10 000 people from disadvantaged areas in and around Stellenbosch and the Cape Flats, securing permanent employment for 76% of its students through its in-house Placement Bureau.

Follow activities by reading articles in the News section of this website.

Watch the Bergzicht Training Introduction Video here.

Justice and Violence Prevention Programme

Children in parenting projects

Parenting projects are an important part of violence prevention programs

Jonathon Rees/Proof Africa

The Justice and Violence Prevention Programme of the Institute of Security Studies (ISS)

Together with one of our key partners on the African continent, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), we aim at improving human security. At the ISS, we partner with the Justice and Violence Prevention (JVP) program, which provides information, data, research and direct advice to the government and public on crime trends and modern methods of reducing violence and crime. Research reports and articles are published regularly on the website of the ISS.

The "Crime Hub", a free, dedicated, interactive online platform, provides current information, crime statistics and analysis; it represents the most comprehensive resource on this topic in South Africa and is widely used by stakeholders from different sectors. The content includes ongoing mapping of hotspots of crime and public protests as well as  nuanced analysis and graphics of the very high murder statistics. With the support of the HSF, the JVP also publishes the journal "Crime Quarterly" in cooperation with the University of Cape Town.

We increasingly emphasize violence prevention in our work, with a special focus on violence against women and children, in order to address one of South Africa’s most pressing social issues.

Public Seminars as well as media interviews disseminate new insights widely and stimulate the discourse between stakeholders; livestreams and recordings are often available online.


The Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) at the University of Cape Town

In order to foster the Rule of Law on the African continent the HSF has supported the work of the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) at the University of Cape Town for many years. Since 2016 the HSF and DGRU have been collaborating with the Southern African Chief Justices Forum (SACJF) to support an independent judiciary in Southern Africa. The Lilongwe Principles on the selection and appointment of judicial officers were drafted in a cooperative process and adopted by the SACJF in 2018. The principles have received praise from leading international experts and continue to influence the public and expert discourse on the subject of the independence and impartiality of the judiciary as a pre-requisite for the separation of powers and the rule of law in Africa. Once implemented in all the member countries of the SACJF, they can make a tremendous contribution to secure a functioning and independent judiciary that truly implements  the law without fear or favour.

Follow activities by reading articles in the News section of this website.

Watch our Violence Prevention Information Video here.

Local Government

Unequal spaces - inequality in South Africa

"Unequal Spaces"


At the Hanns Seidel Foundation we strongly believe in a multi-level government system, as it was established in South Africa through the country’s Constitution. Local authorities have a direct influence on the livelihoods of citizens and play an important democratic and developmental role. The functioning and accountability of local government structures is crucial for delivering essential services like water, electricity or refuse collection to the communities and to encourage the involvement of the people in creating the future they want.

In cooperation with the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University we therefore facilitate the training and education of municipal managers and councilors, especially in the Bavarian partner provinces Gauteng and Western Cape. Together with the Dullah Omar Institute at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), we regularly conduct research on the performance and challenges of the local government sphere in South Africa. We also support the new annual "African School on Decentralisation" hosted by the Dullah Omar Institute and its international partners. 

By examining and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing structures and legislation we aim to make a contribution to the advancement of good governance in South Africa and the region. Current information and analysis are freely available in a dedicated Local Government Bulletin.

You want to learn more about local government in South Africa? You are interested to know what municipal services are and how municipalities are structured? As a citizen it is always good to know what to expect from your municipality and what the role of a municipal councilor is. If you want to know more about all these crucial topics and how to be an active citizen then please watch or listen to our educational video and podcast series on local government in South Africa, which has been developed by the Hanns Seidel Foundation’s own Civics Academy. Watch the Civics Academy Local Government Series here.

Follow activities by reading articles in the News section of this website. 

Migration and Emerging Threats Programme

Refugee camps with hundreds of tents - they are a challenging temporary home for thousands

Refugee camps are a challenging temporary home for thousands

Sadik Gulec; Shutterstock

The Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) are deeply engaged in research related to migration within, to and from Africa. We aim to provide the international community with new, factual information on migration while ensuring that African voices are included in this complex debate.

Research has focused on different regions such as Northern Africa, the Sahel, Libya, the Horn of Africa and South Africa, and on different topics, such as irregular migration, forced displacement, refugees, securitisation of migration, migration and gender and responses to migration. 

Our support to the ISS includes attention to emerging security threats. With thirty years’ experience in human security research and technical assistance, including on terrorism and violent extremism, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is a key resource for national, regional, and international actors.

In this regard the HSF funded ISS Migration and Emerging Threats Programme works with governments, SADC, the African Union and global institutions like the International Organisation for Migration and the UN refugee agency UNHCR to build an understanding of the different situations and in shaping critical action and policy.

Follow activities by reading articles in the News section of this website.

African Futures

The continent and the globe - African Futures studies provide crucial research

African Futures studies provide crucial research


The African Futures & Innovation Programme (AFI) of the Institute of Security Studies (ISS)

Africa with its 55 countries will remain a continent with great potential and challenges. Structural change has started – as we can see it in many African countries – but much more is required. What needs to be done to unleash Africa's potential in the future, and how will the continent and its countries develop until 2040? The answers to this question lie at the heart of our partnership with the African Futures and Innovation Programme at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). Together with the ISS we publish well-founded, user friendly reports on the long-term future of African countries and regions, focusing on relevant topics such as demographics, climate change, health, or the strengthening of the manufacturing sector, using the modern modelling platform "International Futures" from the University of Denver. The AFI authors always work in consultation with diverse local stakeholders and other subject matter experts.

These high-quality studies provide national governments, decision makers from different sectors and the international community with new facts, insights and policy recommendations. For South African and African partner countries these studies also bring the necessary and much needed African voice into policy planning.

Africa Desk at News24

News media is shaping our thinking about certain topics, countries, regions and developments. With the support provided for the new Africa desk at News24, the Hanns Seidel Foundation aims to promote news from Africans for Africans and broaden the source pool for international news about Africa. The Africa Desk on News24 provides and curates content particularly from SADC countries (with a focus on Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the DRC) but also the broader region, including covering developments at the level of the African Union. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

Follow activities by reading articles in the News section of this website.

Economic Development

Collage: City skyline and African woman worker - Inclusive, sustainable economic growth is crucial for societal development

Inclusive, sustainable economic growth is crucial for societal development


The In Transformation Initiative

With support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the South African In Transformation Initiative (ITI) has been facilitating the Public Private Growth Initiative in South Africa. It brings together key decisionmakers from business and the public sector, aiming to overcome obstacles to investment and to stimulate inclusive growth. We have also partnered with ITI in facilitating the establishment of the Agricultural Development Agency of South Africa. It was launched in 2020 to provide finance, mentoring and business support to emerging farmers and to contribute to sustainable, productive land reform processes.

In a series of dialogues with experts and high-level representatives from government, business, academia and civil society which is facilitated by ITI, renowned South African leaders analyse the current economic, political and societal crises and offer policy recommendations for decision makers. Pilot projects have been strategically conceptualised, and are designed to implement and test scalable models of intersectoral collaboration to build state capacity, improve urban food security and facilitate tangible economic development initiatives.


Centre for Leadership, Ethics and Dialogue – Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)

Following joint work in 2020 on a research project exploring the impact of Covid-19 in Africa which included a number of partner organisations, the Hanns Seidel Foundation is currently collaborating with a team at GIBS on a high-level Dialogue initiative exploring economic models and policy options to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development in South Africa.

Follow activities by reading articles in the News section of this website.