SA Minister Naledi Pandor awarded with Germany’s Grand Cross of Merit
April 22, 2016
Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, was awarded with the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany at the residence of the German Ambassador in Pretoria on 22 April 2016. On behalf of the German President, Ambassador Walter Linder presented the Order to Minister Pandor in front of over 100 high-level guests.
Pandor has been actively promoting the bilateral partnership between South Africa and Germany. She spearheaded the German-South African Year of Science 2012/13 and was key for its design and orientation. The Year of Science gave rise to several collaboration programmes between Germany and South Africa. A recent example is the foundation of the bilateral Research Chair in Safe Mining at a South African university. South Africa is Germany’s most important partner in the field of science and research in Africa.
“With the Grand Cross of Merit we recognize Naledi Pandor’s continuous efforts to deepen cooperation between our two countries”, Ambassador Lindner emphasized. “Naledi Pandor is for us a symbol of the new South Africa: modern, innovative, dedicated to scientific progress and also outstanding female leadership.”
Returning to South Africa from exile, Naledi Pandor decided to enter the political arena and became a Member of Parliament for the ANC in the first democratic elections of South Africa in 1994. Pandor quickly convinced with her political talent and filled the post of deputy chief whip of the ANC in the National Assembly from 1995 onwards. Owing to her expertise and background in teaching, Pandor was appointed Minister of Education in 2004. In this capacity, she exercised significant influence on post-Apartheid education policy. She can also be accredited for the fact that three-quarters of today’s university students in South Africa belong to previously disadvantaged population groups.
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Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit
Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit was introduced in 1951 by Theodor Heuss, the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany. In being part of the Order of Merit, the 63-year old minister joins the ranks of influential people as for instance Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohammed el-Baradei or anti-Apartheid figure Denis Goldberg.
German Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa