Ireland and the Irish people have been supporting South Africa for many years.

During the years of apartheid Ireland took a strong stand against the apartheid policy and Irish missionaries have worked in South Africa for more than 150 years.

Following the transition to a democratic, non-racial government in early 1994, the Irish Aid - South Africa bilateral programme was established.

Irish Aid is the official development assistance programme of the Government of Ireland and is funded by the Irish taxpayer. This year it has a budget of around €5.4m for South Africa.

The goal of the current Irish Aid programme is to contribute to the reduction of poverty and inequality, through support for government and civil society.

Ireland's Embassy in South Africa also represents Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ambassador Colin Wrafter took up his post in September 2006 and is due to leave it in August 2010.

He spoke to RTÉ's Kate Egan about what his job entails and how South Africa has changed since he first arrived.

Watch the interview