Chile (Republic of)

History of Relations | Diplomatic Representation | Travel Info | Health Requirements | Climate Info | Currency Info | Trade Info | Visits and Meetings | Agreements | Interest Groups/ Organisations

History of Relations

For some years South Africa's relations with Chile were conducted from Buenos Aires, Argentina, until an Embassy was formally opened in Santiago in March 1974. Relations were however never formally normalised until the appointment of a Chilean Ambassador to South Africa in October 1991. Current relations are maintained at ambassadorial level.

South Africa and Chile are both developing countries, both are in a transition stage to full democracy and reconciliation after years of repressive regimes, both are proponents of the concept of stronger South-South co-operation, share common experiences and problems and as such, can learn from each other and exchange expertise in related and relevant fields.

One of the best examples of how Chile and South Africa have learnt from each other, is the fact that the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was based in part on the Chilean Rettig Commission, created under former President Patricio Aylwin Azocar, to investigate abuses under the Pinochet regime.

South Africa and Chile signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning Consultations on Issues of Common Interest during November 1998 and the First Consultative Policy Meeting was convened in Santiago during August 2000. This serves as a formal body for regular high-level bilateral discussions on issues of mutual concern and common interest.

Numerous high-level visits have taken place since the normalisation of relations.

In September 1997, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki paid an official visit to Chile, during which he held meetings with President Eduardo Frei, Minister Ricardo Lagos and Acting Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez.

President Eduardo Frei paid a two-day State Visit to South Africa on 12 and 13 November 1998. He was accompanied by the Minister of Public Works and some 40 top business people and captains of industry. He met with then President Mandela, then Deputy President Mbeki, and top SA business representatives, NEDLAC and trade union leaders during his visit. Several agreements were also signed during this visit.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr NC Dlamini Zuma, together with Minister Jeff Radebe, Minister of Public Enterprise, attended the inauguration of President Ricardo Lagos on 11 March 2000 on behalf of President Thabo Mbeki. During this visit Minister Dlamini Zuma and Minister Radebe also paid a courtesy call to president-elect Lagos and met with the incoming Deputy Foreign Minister, Ambassador Heraldo Munoz on 10 March 2000.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Aziz Pahad paid an official visit to Chile on 7 and 8 August 2000 for the convening of the first Chile/South Africa Consultative Policy Meeting on issues of Mutual interest and concern.

The Minister in the Presidency, Dr EG Pahad, visited Chile from 5 to 9 December 2000 and attended the America’s Regional Preparatory Meeting of the World Conference on Racism on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Minister of Social Development, Dr ZST Skweyiya MP, visited Chile from 24 to 30 January 2001 to meet with the Chilean Minister of Planning, Ms Elejandra Kraus, to exchange ideas and expertise on social development projects and unemployment programmes. A number of delegates from other Departments such as Health, Agriculture and Land Affairs were also included in the delegation.

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the Eembassy of Chile organised a conference at the Chilean diplomatic Academy in Santiago in November 2001 with the theme: Chile and South Africa - Lessons and opportunities arising from Political and Economic Transitions.

The visit of Minister Mthembi-Mayanyele, Minister of Housing to Chile during March 2002, followed by a study group from the Department of Housing in April 2002, further served to diversify bilateral relations between the two countries.

Diplomatic Representation

South African Representation in Chile

H E Mr T Thage
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

South African Embassy

-5 hours

Chile Representation in South Africa

H E Mr F J Berguno Hurtado
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary

Embassy of the Republic of Chile

Travel Info

Visa Requirements for South Africans

For more information contact the Embassy of Chile.

Travel Advisory: Warning on illegal activities abroad

South African citizens travelling abroad are strongly advised to take care not to become involved in activities which may be, or are, illegal in foreign countries. Please remember, once you leave South Africa, you are not protected by South African laws and constitutional rights. If you are arrested abroad, the South African Government cannot get you out of prison or demand your release. At most, your government can intercede with local authorities to try and ensure that your rights under the laws of the country in which you were arrested are fully observed. It can also attempt to ensure that you are treated humanely, i.e., according to those international agreements to which the country in which you have been arrested, has acceded.

Please note that the South African Government views crimes - particularly those involving illegal drugs, mercenary activities, the traffic in humans or small arms or the abuse of women and children - in a most serious light.

Health Requirements

Tetanus - immunisation recommended if more than three years have passed since last inocculation.

For further information go to Travelers' Health.

Climate Info

Hot in the North. Very cold in the South. The Central areas have a Mediterranean climate. Rain (May to August). Warmer months are November to February.

For up-to-date weather information click here

Currency Info

The monetary unit in Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP).

For current exchange rates click here.

State and Official Visits / Bilateral Meetings

No Information

Bilateral Agreements

If you have any queries with regard to treaties please contact the Treaty Section at 012 351 0892/0742 or send an e-mail to:

Trade Info

Chile/South African bilateral trade is concentrated in the primary and semi-processed metal, chemical and agricultural sectors.  South Africa is, by far, Chile's largest African trading partner. South Africa's exports to Chile are more diversified than those from Chile. In 1999 South Africa exported products in 582 product classes, while Chile exported products in only 69 classes.

For current information on trade statistics between South Africa and Chile, visit the web site of the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa.

Interest Groups and Information

No Information


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