The South African Embassy in Portugal hosted an official delegation from the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature from 13 to 19 November 2011
The Legislature is an important tool of provincial government in South Africa, aiming at deepening democracy, effective public participation and efficient lawmaking.
The study tour entailed the establishment of a network with relevant local authorities in Portugal and the understanding of its structures of local government and projects. For that purpose, the twelve member delegation visited the Municipalities of Gaia (third biggest municipality, North region), Maia (important industrial municipality in the North of Portugal), Guimarães (historical municipality-the cradle of Portugal), Coimbra and Lisbon (capital and biggest municipality). The delegation was also received by the Vice-Rector of the University of Coimbra, the oldest academic institution in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe. The last part of the visit entailed a visit to the Parliament where the delegates interacted with the Portuguese MPs: Mr Laurentino Dias (former Secretary of State for Sport), Mr Fernando de Jesus (PS, Socialist Party, leading opposition party) and Mr Leitão Amaro (PSD, Social Democrat Party, ruling party) who will both be attending the COP 17 Conference taking place in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011.
Ambassador KST Matthews and Ms GN Swaartbooi, Chairman of the Portfolio Committee (first row, centre) with the KZN Legislature delegation and Embassy staff at Chancery