In 1994, South Africa’s first democratic elections took place and the President of the African National Congress (ANC), Nelson Mandela, took over as President of South Africa. Sanctions against the country were lifted and foreign companies were able to play a more active role in the South African economy once more. German companies already had a long tradition as partners of South African companies - some of them for more than 150 years. In particular, the automotive industry and its suppliers played a key role in creating jobs for local workers. Since 1996, bilateral relations between South Africa and Germany have been held in order to improve bilateral cooperation.

Since 1995, there have been partnerships between Bavaria and two provinces of South Africa, Gauteng and Western Cape. The Free State of Bavaria has worked successfully with these two provinces in areas of business, education, security, tourism and the development of small, medium and micro enterprises.