The Board of Deputies (Cape Council) recently hosted German Consul – General Hans – Werner Bussmann and Parliamentary and Press Liaison Marco Schmitt.
|Back: Jonathan Glick, Ella Blumenthal, Rael Chapman, Miriam Lichterman, Richard Freedman and Gabi Stein. Front: Steven Korber, Dalit Anstey, Ruth Urson and Asher Stern.
Bussmann commenced his post as Consul- General in 2009, and is responsible for the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape. He estimates that there are at least 25 000 Germans living in the Western Cape.
This was Bussman’s second visit to the Cape Board, as he always makes a point of visiting the local Jewish community wherever he serves. Over lunch, he recounted his previous meetings with the Jewish community at his postings in Belgrade, Harare, The Hague, Athens, Pretoria, and Cairo. Many Jews around the world have acquired German citizenship through parents and grandparents forced to flee Germany, and the German Consulate in Cape Town assists with this bureaucratic process.
Germany has a long history of nationbuilding during difficult times, and has made a commitment to assisting South Africa navigate through its own transition. It has invested €15 million in a community upliftment programme in Khayelitsha, assisted companies that face racial polarisation, and launched a tolerance programme, later replicated at other companies.
Bussmann believes that Israel’s current policies are eroding the German people’s support of Israel. This contrasts with Germany’s official foreign policy towards Israel, as it was one of the first countries to boycott the Durban 3 Conference and voted against Palestinian UDI at the UN Security Council. Bussmann believes that the Israelis and Palestinians must negotiate, “or else Jews will become a minority in their own country.” He said that Israel must commit to the peace process before demographics alter the region and a two-state solution becomes impossible.
The Cape Board looks forward to strengthening relations with the German Consulate in Cape Town, as well as with the other diplomatic missions serving the Western Cape.