View Vacancy - Political Officer - Cape Town (18/18 CPT)

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Policy & Political roles)

Main purpose of job:
Providing high-quality analysis and advice on political developments in South Africa, particularly in the National Assembly, and delivering related work in line with the UK’s bilateral objectives in South Africa. Deliver visit programmes and logistics for UK VIPS and senior UK officials.

Roles and responsibilities:

  • This is an exciting opportunity to work at the heart of the Political Section at the British High Commission. It is a high profile policy position, you will be working at the core of the UK’s diplomatic mission in Cape Town, alongside the Consul General and High Commissioner to deliver UK diplomatic priorities. The job holder should be a self-starter comfortable operating across a wide range of topics, your role will include domestic and foreign affairs, as well as economics, business and trade.  The job holder should be willing to adapt to new challenges and deliver under pressure, as a part of a diverse team.
  • Engaging Parliament is a crucial part of the job. You will have a particular focus on legislative, policy and political events in South Africa’s parliament. You will need to track, analyse and report on political, legal and social developments in South Africa through regular attendance at National Assembly debates and Committee sessions. 
  • As varied as it is interesting, the role is packed with opportunity. It is an excellent opening for a committed and tested political professional to advance their career through unique exposure to the full range of diplomatic business. You will be part of – and contributing to - an inclusive and dynamic team, committed to developing the skills of its staff.  There are opportunities for regional and international travel.
  • There is plenty of big picture work but getting small details right is crucial. You will be responsible for planning and delivering programmes, calls and visits for the Consul General, High Commissioner and visiting UK ministers and officials. And there is some logistical and protocol work needed to make the political section tick. Supporting the wider mission here in Cape Town will be important too – lending a hand on consular or trade issues at busy points may be needed. So we need a flexible team player. 
  • Political Section is a hard working but friendly team who strive for a good work life balance. This job sometimes involves travel and out of hours work, for which time off in lieu can be claimed.

Outline of specific roles and responsibilities:

  • Advising the Consul General, High Commissioner and wider teams on key political and policy issues. The successful candidate will a have strong knowledge of South Africa and South African politics and able to quickly understand and explain a diverse range of complex policy issues. Some of the issues you will be expected to work on include: business environment, trade policy, good governance, foreign policy, economic transformation and land reform. The jobholder will have a key role in advising on opposition party dynamics.
  • Engagement. Strong networks will be fundamental to informing your analysis.  The jobholder will need to develop a network and engage proactively and creatively with Government, MPs, NGOs and civil society, as well as business to inform UK policy and influence South African stakeholders.
  • Monitoring Parliament for significant political, social, business and trade policy issues in South Africa. Tracking progress on specific bills and other parliamentary initiatives is a key aspect of the role. Producing thorough research, analysis and strategic advice on options for UK engagement.  These will range from brief urgent updates to longer analytical pieces for UK ministers and officials. Excellent written and verbal communications will be essential. This will involve the successful candidate working across teams in South Africa in our offices in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town and across government departments in London – the ability to work collaboratively across teams is important.
  • As a member of the Political Team, you will also be fully involved with the day to day tasks of bilateral diplomacy including monitoring developments, organising events and programmes for visiting Ministers and officials. A number of corporate and protocol tasks are also shared across the team.
  • University degree (masters preferable)
  • Minimum 2 years relevant experience
  • Deep knowledge and understanding of South African politics and society

Language requirements:

Language: English

Level of language required:  Excellent English written and spoken skills are essential. Additional African languages would be desirable.

Making Effective Decisions, Leading and Communicating, Collaborating and Partnering, Delivering at Pace
5 July 2018
B3 (L)
South Africa
Cape Town
British Consulate General
1 August 2018

Learning and development opportunities:

The job offers an excellent opportunity to develop advanced political and diplomatic skills. Opportunities for professional development through on the job training and attendance at conferences and seminars are plentiful and one of the major benefits of the job. The High Commission also hosts the FCO’s regional training centre so there is ample opportunity for attending a range of formal training courses.

  • The British High Commission pays in full for the Key Care Plus option on Discovery Health for staff including spouses/partners and dependants.
  • Once you have successfully completed your probation the British High Commission will contribute 9% of your monthly salary to a Provident Fund.
  • Annual leave entitlement of 25 days
  • Working hours per week of 36.5
  • Please complete the application form in full as the information provided is used during screening.
  • Please check your application carefully before you submit, as no changes can be made once submitted.
  • The British High Commission will never request any payment or fees to apply for a position.
  • Employees recruited locally by the British High Commission in Pretoria are subject to Terms and Conditions of Service according to local employment law in South Africa.
  • All candidates must be legally able to work and reside in the country of the vacancy with the correct visa/work permit status or demonstrate eligibility to obtain the relevant permit. 
  • The responsibility lies on the successful candidate to;
  1. Obtain the relevant permit
  2. Pay fees for the permit
  3. Make arrangements to relocate
  4. Meet the costs to relocation 
  • The British High Commission do not sponsor visas/work permits except where it may be local practice to do so. 
  • Employees who are not eligible to pay local income tax: e.g. certain third-country nationals and spouses/partners of UK diplomats will have their salaries abated by an equivalent amount.
  • Information about the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Competency Framework can be found on this link: Please note:  AA=A1, AO=A2, EO=B3, HEO=C4, SEO=C5
  • Reference checking and security clearances will be conducted on successful candidates.
  • Please log into your profile on the application system on a regular basis to review the status of your application.
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This opportunity is closed to applications.