The President is elected by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, and is usually the leader of the largest party, which has been the African National Congress since the first non-racial elections were held on 27 April 1994. The Constitution limits the president's time in office to two five-year terms. The first president to be elected under the new constitution was Nelson Mandela. The incumbent is Cyril Ramaphosa, who was elected by the National Assembly on 15 February 2018 following the resignation of Jacob Zuma.
Under the interim constitution (valid from 1994 to 1996), there was a Government of National Unity, in which a Member of Parliament (MP) from the largest opposition party was entitled to a position as Deputy President. Along with Thabo Mbeki, the last State President, F. W. de Klerk also served as Deputy President, in his capacity as the leader of the National Party which was the second-largest party in the new Parliament. But De Klerk later resigned and went into opposition with his party. A voluntary coalition government continues to exist under the new constitution (adopted in 1996), although there have been no appointments of opposition politicians to the post of Deputy President.
The President is required to be a member of the National Assembly at the time of his election. Upon his election, he immediately resigns his seat for the duration of his term. The President may be removed either by a motion of no-confidence or an impeachment trial.
|President of the|
Republic of South Africa
Seal of the President of South Africa
since 15 February 2018
|Residence||Mahlamba Ndlopfu (Pretoria)|
Genadendal (Cape Town)
Dr. John L. Dube House (Durban)
|Appointer||National Assembly of South Africa|
|Term length||5 years|
|Inaugural holder||Nelson Mandela|
|Formation||10 May 1994|
|Deputy||Deputy President of South Africa|
|Salary||R 2,900,000 ($ 251,127)|
The office of the President, and the roles that come with it, were established by Chapter Five of the Constitution of South Africa which was formed by a Constituent Assembly upon the dissolution of apartheid as state policy.
A number of manifestations of the office have existed. Aspects of these offices exist within the presidency today. The executive leadership of the British colonies of Natal and of the Cape of Good Hope were invested in their Governors, likewise was invested in the Presidents of the Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Alternating sovereignty as a result of wars culminated in the Vereeniging Treaty signed in which concluded the South African War.
Upon the declaration of the Republic of South Africa on 31 May 1961, the office of State President was created. It was originally a ceremonial post, but became an executive post in 1984 when a new constitution abolished the post of Prime Minister and transferred its powers to the State President.
South Africa has a distinctive system for the election of its president. Unlike other former British colonies and dominions who have adopted a parliamentary republican form of government and those that follow the Westminster system, South Africa's President is both head of state and head of government and Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Contrary to presidential systems around the world, the President of South Africa is elected by the Parliament of South Africa rather than by the people directly. He is thus answerable to it in theory and able to influence legislation in practice as head of the majority party (presently the ANC).
The President is elected at the first sitting of Parliament after an election, and whenever a vacancy arises. The President is elected by the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, from among its members. The chief justice must oversee the election. Once elected, a person is no longer a member of the National Assembly. They must then be sworn in as President within five days of the election. Should a vacancy arise, the date of a new election must be set by the chief justice, but not more than 30 days after the vacancy occurs.
The Constitution has thus prescribed a system combining both parliamentary and presidential systems in a unique manner. Only Botswana and a few other countries use a similar system. Between 1996 and 2003 Israel combined the two systems in an opposite way, with an elected prime minister.
Although the presidency is the key institution, it is hedged about with numerous checks and balances that prevent its total dominance over the government, as was the case in many African countries. The presidential term is five years, with a limit of two terms. Thus the electoral system attempts (at least on paper) to prevent the accumulation of power in the president as was during Apartheid or in many other African countries.
According to chapter five of the constitution, the President can only exercise the powers of his or her office while within the Republic of South Africa. Should the president be outside of the country, or unable to fulfil the duties of the office, they may appoint an acting president.
The presidential vacancy should be filled first by the Deputy President, then cabinet minister selected by the President, then a cabinet minister selected by the cabinet, and finally by the Speaker of the National Assembly.
The President is the head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the South African National Defence Force. The rights, responsibilities and remuneration of the President are enumerated in Chapter V of the Constitution of South Africa and subsequent amendments and laws passed by the Parliament of South Africa.
The executive powers of the Republic are vested in the President. He appoints various officials to positions listed in the Constitution however the most significant are the ministers and justices of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. Through the Cabinet, the President implements and enforces the constitution and laws and enforces his or her political objectives. Judges are appointed on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.
The President plays a role in the formation of legislation. He or she signs bills into laws and can do the opposite, veto them (although subject to an override), refers bills back to Parliament or to the Constitutional Court or can call for a referendum. The president summons parliament, often delivering his or her objectives and agenda in a State of the Nation Address at the beginning of each session.
The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force thereby possessing influence or control over foreign and security policy. He or she is accorded the constitutional powers to declare war and make peace, negotiate and sign (although not ratify) treaties (and the alliances that may come with them), and receives and appoints diplomatic officials, confers honours and grants pardons.
|Term of office
|5 years, 35 days||22nd||
(Reshuffle 1 · 2 · 3)
|The first post-apartheid President of South Africa. The first black chief executive of South Africa, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.|
|9 years, 102 days||23rd||
(Reshuffle 1 · 2)
|The second post-apartheid President of South Africa. On 20 September 2008, with about nine months left in his second term, Mbeki announced his resignation after being recalled by the National Executive Committee of the ANC, following a conclusion by judge C. R. Nicholson of improper interference in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), including the prosecution of Jacob Zuma for corruption. On 12 January 2009, the Supreme Court of Appeal unanimously overturned judge Nicholson's judgment but the resignation stood.|
|The third post-apartheid President of South Africa. He was elected following the resignation of Thabo Mbeki and briefly served before being succeeded by Jacob Zuma, who later appointed Motlanthe deputy president.|
|8 years, 281 days||25th||
(Reshuffle 1 · 2 · 3)
(Reshuffle 1 · 2 · 3)
|The fourth post-apartheid President of South Africa. Presided over the centennial celebration of the ANC in 2015 as well as the death of Nelson Mandela in 2013. With less than a year before his term were to expire, Zuma resigned on 14 February 2018 following the demands of the ANC that Zuma should resign, or risk facing a successful vote of no confidence in the National Assembly.|
|1 year, 64 days||26th|
|The fifth post-apartheid President of South Africa. He was elected following the resignation of Jacob Zuma.|
His resignation came into effect at midnight.
The 54th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) took place from 16 to 20 December 2017 in the Expo Centre Johannesburg at Nasrec, Gauteng, as the elective conference to elect the members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) as well as other major party officials.
On 18 December 2017, Cyril Ramaphosa, the incumbent Deputy President of the ANC since 2012 and Deputy President of South Africa since 2014, was elected as President of the ANC, narrowly defeating Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Following Jacob Zuma's resignation in February 2018, Ramaphosa was elected unopposed as President of South Africa by the National Assembly on 15 February 2018. Ramaphosa took his oath of office in the presidential guesthouse, Tuynhuys, by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.As President of the ANC, Ramaphosa will be the party's candidate for President of South Africa in the South African general election, 2019.Baleka Mbete
Baleka Mbete (born 24 September 1949) is a South African politician who is the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa serving since May 2014. Previously she was Speaker of the National Assembly from 2004 to 2008 and Deputy President of South Africa from 2008 to 2009 under Kgalema Motlanthe. She was elected National Chairperson of the African National Congress in 2007 and re-elected in 2012 and served until 18 December 2017. On the 18th of December 2017 during the ANC's 54th conference her position as National Chairperson was succeeded by Gwede Mantashe.
Mbete is the ex-wife of poet and activist Keorapetse Kgositsile.Cabinet of South Africa
The Cabinet of South Africa is the most senior level of the executive branch of the Government of South Africa. It is made up of the President, the Deputy President, and the Ministers.Cyril Ramaphosa
Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa (born 17 November 1952) is a South African politician and the fifth and current President of South Africa. He became President following the resignation of Jacob Zuma. Previously an anti-apartheid activist, trade union leader, businessman, and partly communist, Ramaphosa served as the Deputy President of South Africa from 2014 to 2018. He was elected President of the African National Congress (ANC) at the ANC National Conference in December 2017. He is also the former Chairman of the National Planning Commission, which is responsible for strategic planning for the future of the country, with the goal of rallying South Africa "around a common set of objectives and priorities to drive development over the longer term".He has been called a skillful negotiator and strategist who acted as the ANC's Chief Negotiator during South Africa's transition to democracy. Ramaphosa built up the biggest and most powerful trade union in the country – the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). He played a crucial role, with Roelf Meyer of the National Party, during the negotiations to bring about a peaceful end to apartheid and steer the country towards its first fully democratic elections in April 1994. Ramaphosa was Nelson Mandela's choice for future president. Ramaphosa is well known as a businessman, and his estimated net worth is over R6.4 billion ($550 million) as of 2018, with 31 properties and previously-held notable ownership in companies such as McDonald's South Africa, chair of the board for MTN and member of the board for Lonmin.
Despite his credentials as an important proponent of his country's peaceful transition to democracy, he has also been criticised for the conduct of his business interests although he has never been indicted for illegal activity in any of these controversies. Controversial business dealings include his joint venture with Glencore and allegations of benefitting illegally from coal deals with Eskom which he has staunchly denied, during which Glencore was in the public spotlight for its tendentious business activities involving Tony Blair in the Middle East; his son, Andile Ramaphosa, has also been found to have accepted payments totalling R2 million from Bosasa, the security company implicated in corruption and state capture by the Zondo commission; and his employment on the board of directors of Lonmin while taking an active stance when the Marikana Massacre took place on Lonmin's Marikana premises. On 15 August 2012 he called for action against the Marikana miners' strike, which he called "dastardly criminal" conduct that needed "concomitant action" to be taken. He later admitted and regretted his involvement in the act and said that it could have been avoided if contingency plans had been made prior to the labour strike.David Mabuza
David Dabede Mabuza (born 25 August 1960) is the Deputy President of South Africa and Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC). He is also the former Premier of Mpumalanga.Deputy President of South Africa
The Deputy President of South Africa is the deputy head of government of South Africa. They are a member of the National Assembly and the Cabinet. The Deputy President is constitutionally required to "assist the President in the execution of the functions of government", and may be assigned any government portfolio by presidential proclamation. The Deputy President performs the duties of the President of South Africa when the President is outside the country's borders, unable to fulfill the duties of the office, or when the Presidency is vacant.
Under the interim constitution (valid from 1994 to 1996), there was a Government of National Unity, in which a member of parliament from the largest opposition party was entitled to a position as deputy president. Along with Mbeki, the previous State President, F. W. de Klerk also served as Deputy President in his capacity as the leader of the National Party, then the second-largest party in the new Parliament. De Klerk later resigned and went into opposition with his party. A voluntary coalition government continues to exist under the new constitution (adopted in 1996), although there have been no appointments of opposition politicians to the post of deputy president.
The official living residences of the Deputy President are Oliver Tambo House in Pretoria, Highstead in Cape Town and Dr John L Dube House in Durban.First Lady of South Africa
The First Lady of South Africa is the title held by the wife or most senior wife of the President of South Africa.Government of South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a parliamentary republic with three-tier system of government and an independent judiciary, operating in a parliamentary system. Legislative authority is held by the Parliament of South Africa. Executive authority is vested in the President of South Africa who is head of state and head of government, and his Cabinet. The President is elected by the Parliament to serve a fixed term. South Africa's government differs greatly from those of other Commonwealth nations. The national, provincial and local levels of government all have legislative and executive authority in their own spheres, and are defined in the South African Constitution as "distinctive, interdependent and interrelated".
Operating at both national and provincial levels ("spheres") are advisory bodies drawn from South Africa's traditional leaders. It is a stated intention in the Constitution that the country be run on a system of co-operative governance.
The national government is composed of three inter-connected branches:
Legislative: Parliament, consisting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces
Executive: The President, who is both Head of State and Head of Government
Judicial: The Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the High CourtAll bodies of the South African government are subject to the rule of the Constitution, which is the Supreme law in South Africa.Jacob Zuma
Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (Zulu: [geɮʱejiɬeˈkisa ˈzʱuma]; born 12 April 1942) is a South African politician who served as the fourth President of South Africa from the 2009 general election until his resignation on 14 February 2018. Zuma is also referred to by his initials JZ and his clan name Msholozi.Zuma served as Deputy President of South Africa from 1999 to 2005, but was dismissed by President Thabo Mbeki in 2005 after Zuma's financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, was convicted of soliciting a bribe for Zuma. Zuma was nonetheless elected President of the African National Congress (ANC) on 18 December 2007 after defeating Mbeki at the ANC conference in Polokwane. On 20 September 2008, Mbeki announced his resignation after being recalled by the ANC's National Executive Committee. The recall came after South African High Court Judge Christopher Nicholson ruled Mbeki had improperly interfered with the operations of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), including the prosecution of Jacob Zuma for corruption.
Zuma led the ANC to victory in the 2009 general election and was elected President of South Africa. He was re-elected as ANC leader at the ANC conference in Mangaung on 18 December 2012, defeating challenger Kgalema Motlanthe by a large majority, and remained president of South Africa after the 2014 general election, although his party suffered a decline in support, partly due to growing dissatisfaction with Zuma as president.
Zuma faced significant legal challenges before and during his presidency. He was charged with rape in 2005, but was acquitted. He has fought a long legal battle over allegations of racketeering and corruption, resulting from his financial advisor Schabir Shaik's conviction for corruption and fraud. On 6 April 2009, the National Prosecuting Authority dropped the charges against Zuma, citing political interference, although the decision was successfully challenged by opposition parties, and as of February 2018 the charges were before the NPA for reconsideration. After extensive state-funded upgrades to his rural homestead at Nkandla, the Public Protector found that Zuma had benefited improperly from the expenditure, and the Constitutional Court unanimously held in 2016's Economic Freedom Fighters v Speaker of the National Assembly that Zuma had failed to uphold the country's constitution, resulting in calls for his resignation and a failed impeachment attempt in the National Assembly. Zuma's rule is estimated to have cost the South African economy R1 trillion (approximately US$83 Billion). He has also been implicated in reports of state capture through his friendship with the influential Gupta family. He survived multiple motions of no confidence, both in parliament and within the ANC.
On 18 December 2017, Cyril Ramaphosa was elected to succeed Zuma as President of the ANC at the ANC Conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg. Subsequent months saw growing pressure on Zuma to resign as President of South Africa, culminating in the ANC "recalling" him as President of South Africa. Facing a motion of no confidence in parliament, Zuma announced his resignation on 14 February 2018, and was succeeded by Ramaphosa the next day.Kgalema Motlanthe
Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe (Northern Sotho pronunciation: [ˈkxɑ.lɪ.mɑ mʊ.ˈtɬʼɑ.n.tʰɛ]; born 19 July 1949) is a South African politician who served as President of South Africa between 25 September 2008 and 9 May 2009, following the resignation of Thabo Mbeki.After the end of his presidency, Motlanthe was appointed as the Deputy President of South Africa by his successor, Jacob Zuma. Motlanthe served as Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC) from 2007 until 2012, when he declined to run for a second term. At the 53rd National Conference of the African National Congress, Motlanthe ran for the position of President of the ANC but was soundly defeated by Zuma, who won re-election. He was succeeded as Deputy President of the ANC by Cyril Ramaphosa in 2014.
Motlanthe, who had maintained a low public profile, was elected in 2008 to the presidency of South Africa by the South African National Assembly following the resignation of Mbeki, and he was widely considered to be acting as a "caretaker president" on behalf of Zuma. Zuma succeeded Motlanthe on 9 May 2009 in a presidential election held by the South African National Assembly, following the 2009 general election which had been won by the ANC.Motlanthe had been a student activist, trade unionist and member of the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, during the struggle against apartheid. Today, Motlanthe, a left-leaning intellectual, is seen as a highly skilled political operator within the politics of South Africa, and a key figure behind the success of Zuma. Motlanthe was South Africa's first Northern Sotho-speaking president.List of African Nobel laureates
The Nobel Prize is an international prize awarded annually since 1901 for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. An associated prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded since 1969. Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 800 individuals.Africans have received awards in five of the six Nobel prize categories: Peace, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Chemistry. The first Black African recipient, Albert Luthuli, was awarded the Peace Prize in 1960 and the first White African who received the prize was Max Theiler in 1951 for Physiology or Medicine. The most recent recipients, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2011.
A notable recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize is Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) the first democratically elected president of South Africa, who played a key role in the repeal of apartheid laws . He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 alongside President F.W. de Klerk Two African laureates, Anwar Sadat of Egypt in 1978 and F.W. de Klerk of South Africa in 1993, were presidents of their countries at the time they were awarded the Nobel Prize. Sadat was honored along with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin for their efforts to reach a peace agreement between their two countries. DeKlerk was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Nelson Mandela, who led the ANC but was not president of South Africa until 1994.List of heads of state of South Africa
This is a list of the heads of state of South Africa, from the foundation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 to the present day.
From 1910 to 1961 the head of state under the South Africa Act 1909 was the Monarch, who was the same person as the Monarch of the United Kingdom and of the other Dominions/Commonwealth realms. The Monarch was represented in South Africa by a Governor-General. South Africa became a republic under the Constitution of 1961 and the Monarch and Governor-General were replaced by a ceremonial State President. In 1984, under the Tricameral Constitution, the State President gained executive powers, becoming head of both state and government. Since 1994, under the Interim Constitution and the current Constitution, the head of state and government has been called the President.Marais Viljoen
Marais Viljoen, (2 December 1915 – 4 January 2007) was the last ceremonial State President of South Africa from 4 June 1979 until 3 September 1984. Viljoen became the last of the ceremonial presidents of South Africa when he was succeeded in 1984 by Prime Minister P. W. Botha, who combined the offices into an executive presidency.Politics of South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a parliamentary representative democratic republic. The President of South Africa serves both as head of state and as head of government. The President is elected by the National Assembly (the lower house of the South African Parliament) and must retain the confidence of the Assembly in order to remain in office. South Africans also elect provincial legislatures which govern each of the country's nine provinces.
Since the end of apartheid in 1994 the African National Congress (ANC) has dominated South Africa's politics. The ANC is the ruling party in the national legislature, as well as in eight of the nine provinces (Western Cape is governed by the Democratic Alliance). The ANC received 62.15% of the vote during the 2014 general election. It had received 62.9%
of the popular vote in the 2011 municipal election. The main challenger to the ANC's rule is the Democratic Alliance, led by Mmusi Maimane (previously by Helen Zille), which received 22.23% of the vote in the 2014 election. Other major political parties represented in Parliament include the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Inkatha Freedom Party, which mainly represents Zulu voters. The formerly dominant New National Party, which both introduced and ended apartheid through its predecessor the National Party, disbanded in 2005 to merge with the ANC. Jacob Zuma served as President of South Africa since May 9, 2009 until his resignation in February 2018. Zuma was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa. The country's next general election will be held in 2019.
The Economist Intelligence Unit rated South Africa as "flawed democracy" in 2016.Presidency of Nelson Mandela
The presidency of Nelson Mandela began on 10 May 1994, when Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist, lawyer, and former political prisoner, was inaugurated as President of South Africa, and ended on 14 June 1999. He was the first non-white head of state in South African history, as well as the first to take office following the dismantling of the apartheid system and the introduction of multiracial democracy. Mandela was also the oldest head of state in South Africa's history, taking office at the age of seventy-five.Prime Minister of South Africa
The Prime Minister of South Africa (Afrikaans: Eerste Minister van Suid-Afrika) was the head of government in South Africa between 1910 and 1984.Robben Island
Robben Island (Afrikaans: Robbeneiland) is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 kilometres (4.3 mi) west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for "seal island." Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km (2.1 mi) long north-south, and 1.9 km (1.2 mi) wide, with an area of 5.08 km2 (1.96 sq mi). It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid. To date, three former inmates of Robben Island have gone on to become President of South Africa: Nelson Mandela, Kgalema Motlanthe, and Jacob Zuma.
Robben Island is a South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.State President of South Africa
The State President of the Republic of South Africa (Afrikaans: Staatspresident) was the head of state of South Africa from 1961 to 1994. The office was established when the country became a republic in 1961, and Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be monarch of South Africa. The position of Governor-General of South Africa was accordingly abolished. From 1961 to 1984, the post was largely ceremonial. After constitutional reforms enacted in 1983 and taking effect in 1984, the State President became an executive post, and its holder was both head of state and head of government.
The office was abolished in 1994, with the end of Apartheid and the transition to democratic majority rule. Since then, the head of state and head of government is known simply as the President of South Africa.Statue of Nelson Mandela, Union Buildings
The statue of Nelson Mandela in the Union Buildings grounds, Pretoria, Gauteng is a bronze sculpture of former President of South Africa and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. The statue was unveiled on the Day of Reconciliation (16 December 2013), bringing the official mourning period of ten days to a close, after Mandela had died on 5 December.
|State President (1961–1994)|
|President (from 1994)|
Heads of state and government of Africa
|Heads of state|
|Heads of government|