President of South Africa

Last updated

President of the
Republic of South Africa
Seal of the President of South Africa.svg
Seal of the President of South Africa
President of South Africa MC Ramaphosa speaks to Russian President (28 June 2019).jpg
Incumbent
Cyril Ramaphosa

since 15 February 2018
Style His Excellency
Residence Mahlamba Ndlopfu (Pretoria)
Genadendal (Cape Town)
Dr. John L. Dube House (Durban)
Appointer National Assembly of South Africa
Term length 5 years
renewable once
Inaugural holder Nelson Mandela
Formation10 May 1994
Deputy Deputy President of South Africa
Salary R 2,900,000 ($ 251,127) [1]
Website www.thepresidency.gov.za
Flag of South Africa.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
South Africa
Flag of South Africa.svg South Africaportal

The president of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state, head of government of South Africa and the commander-in-chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) under the Constitution of South Africa. From 1961 to 1994, the head of state was called the state president.

Contents

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. [2] 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.

Origins

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. [2]

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.

The Union of South Africa, a British Dominion, was established on 31 May 1910 [3] with the British monarch as titular head of state, represented by a viceroy, the governor-general.

Upon the declaration of the Republic of South Africa on 31 May 1961, the office of State President was created. [4] 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.

Electoral system

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 [5] 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.

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. [6]

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 direct elections for the post of prime minister. [7]

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. [8]

Succession

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. [9]

Presidential powers

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. [10]

Presidents of South Africa (1994–present)

Parties

   African National Congress

No.PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Term of office

Electoral mandates
DurationParliamentPolitical partyGovernmentRefs
1 Mandela 1991.jpg Nelson Mandela
(1918–2013)
10 May
1994
14 June
1999
5 years, 35 days 22nd
ANC
Mandela
(Reshuffle 1 · 2 · 3)
ANCNPIFP
1994
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.
2 Thabo Mbeki 2003.jpg Thabo Mbeki
(born 1942)
14 June
1999
21 May
2004
9 years, 102 days 23rd
ANC
Mbeki I
ANCIFP
[11]
[12]
[13]
[14]
[15]
[16]
[17]
21 May
2004
24 September
2008
24th
Mbeki II
(Reshuffle 1 · 2)
1999, 2004
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.
3 Kgalema Motlanthe, 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa-1.jpg Kgalema Motlanthe
(born 1949)
25 September
2008
9 May
2009
228 days 24th
ANC
Motlanthe
[18]
[18]
2008
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.
4 Malcolm Turnbull and Jacob Zuma in Jakarta 2017 11 cropped.jpg Jacob Zuma
(born 1942)
9 May
2009
21 May
2014
8 years, 281 days 25th
ANC
Zuma I
(Reshuffle 1 · 2 · 3)
21 May
2014
14 February
2018
26th
Zuma II
(Reshuffle 1 · 2 · 3)
2009, 2014
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.
5 Mr. Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General with H. E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President, South Africa (cropped).jpg Cyril Ramaphosa
(born 1952)
15 February
2018
Incumbent
2 years, 7 days 26th
ANC
Ramaphosa
2018, 2019
The fifth post-apartheid president of South Africa. He was elected following the resignation of Jacob Zuma.

Timeline

Cyril RamaphosaJacob ZumaKgalema Petrus MotlantheThabo Mvuyelwa MbekiNelson MandelaPresident of South Africa

Living former presidents

Latest election

See also

Related Research Articles

Politics of South Africa Political system 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 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.

Thabo Mbeki South African politician, President of South Africa

Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki is a South African politician who served as the second president of South Africa from June 1999 to 24 September 2008. 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 judgement but the resignation stood.

Presidential system form of government

A presidential system is a democratic and republican government in which a head of government leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch. This head of government is in most cases also the head of state, which is called president.

P. W. Botha Leader of South Africa from 1978 to 1989

Pieter Willem Botha,, commonly known as "P. W." and Die Groot Krokodil, was a South African politician. He served as the last Prime Minister from 1978 to 1984 and the first executive State President from 1984 to 1989.

President of Mauritius Head of State of the Republic of Mauritius

The president of Mauritius is the head of state of the Republic of Mauritius. Mauritius is a parliamentary republic, and the president functions as a ceremonial figurehead, elected by the National Assembly as set out by the Constitution of Mauritius. The current office-holder is Prithvirajsing Roopun. The president's official residence is the State House.

Jacob Zuma 4th President of South Africa

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma 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.

Constitutional Court of South Africa Supreme court for constitutional matters in South Africa

The Constitutional Court of South Africa is a supreme constitutional court established by the Constitution of South Africa. It was originally the final appellate court for constitutional matters. Since the enactment of the Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution in 2013, the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction to hear any matter if it is in the interests of justice for it to do so.

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.

Baleka Mbete South African politician

Baleka Mbete is a South African politician who served as the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa from May 2014 to May 2019. She was previously 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, Gwede Mantashe was elected Mbete's successor as National Chairperson of the ANC.

Naledi Pandor South African politician

Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor is a South African academic, educationist, lecturer and politician serving as the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation since 2019. She has served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the African National Congress (ANC) since 1994.

Kgalema Motlanthe President of South Africa, Deputy President of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and Secretary-General of the African National Congress

Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe 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.

History of South Africa (1994–present)

South Africa since 1994 transitioned from the system of apartheid to one of majority rule. The election of 1994 resulted in a change in government with the African National Congress (ANC) coming to power. The ANC retained power after subsequent elections in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. Children born during this period are known as the born-free generation, and those aged eighteen or older, were able to vote for the first time in 2014.

The 52nd National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) was held in Polokwane, Limpopo from 16–20 December 2007. It elected Jacob Zuma and supporters to the party's top leadership and National Executive Committee (NEC), representing a significant defeat for Thabo Mbeki, then the party's incumbent president and president of the country.

The following lists events that happened during 2008 in South Africa.

Fikile Mbalula South African politician

Fikile April Mbalula is a South African politician who is currently serving as Minister of Transport. He previously served as both Minister and Deputy Minister of Police and Minister of Sports and Recreation. Mbalula is a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress and former leader of the African National Congress Youth League.

2008 South African presidential election

An indirect presidential election was held in South Africa on 25 September 2008 following the resignation of the President Thabo Mbeki. The ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), with a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly of South Africa, elected Kgalema Motlanthe as President. The ANC indicated that Motlanthe would be a "caretaker" president until the 2009 election, after which ANC President Jacob Zuma would take office.

Congress of the People (South African political party) political party from South Africa (Formed in 2008 by former members of the African National Congress.)

The Congress of the People (COPE) is a South African political party formed in 2008 by former members of the African National Congress (ANC). The party was founded by former ANC members Mosiuoa Lekota, Mbhazima Shilowa and Mluleki George to contest the 2009 general election. The party was announced following a national convention held in Sandton on 1 November 2008, and was founded at a congress held in Bloemfontein on 16 December 2008. The name echoes the 1955 Congress of the People at which the Freedom Charter was adopted by the ANC and other parties, a name strongly contested by the ANC in a legal move dismissed by the Pretoria High Court.

The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of South Africa made a number of changes, most importantly giving the title of "Chief Justice" to the head of the Constitutional Court instead of the head of the Supreme Court of Appeal. It was passed by the National Assembly with the requisite two-thirds majority on 1 November 2001, and signed by President Thabo Mbeki on 20 November; it was published and came into force on the following day.

References

  1. "This is how much Ramaphosa could earn as president in 2018 and beyond". businesstech.co.za. 22 February 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  2. 1 2 "Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 - Chapter 5: The President and National Executive, 88. Term of office of President".
  3. "General History of South Africa Timeline: 1910s".
  4. "General History of South Africa Timeline: 1960s".
  5. "Voting Completed to Elect New President". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  6. "Chapter 5 - The President and National Executive". The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  7. "Botswana".
  8. "Elections in South Africa".
  9. "Succession planning for dummies". Daily Maverick. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  10. "Responsibilities of the President of South Africa".
  11. The Presidency (14 October 2004). "GCIS: profile information: Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, Mr". GCIS. Archived from the original on 16 April 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007.
  12. "Cabinet bids farewell to Mbeki". SABC news. 25 September 2008. Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2008. His resignation came into effect at midnight.
  13. "SA's Mbeki says he will step down". London: BBC News. 20 September 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  14. "Full Zuma Judgment". News24. 13 September 2008. Archived from the original on 31 October 2008.
  15. "Judge Nicholson Red-carded by SCA". Mail&Guardian Online. 12 January 2009.
  16. "National Director of Public Prosecutions v Zuma (573/08) [2009] ZASCA 1 (12 Jan 2009)" (PDF). South African Supreme Court of Appeal. 12 January 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2009.
  17. "Mbeki lashes out at lying politicians". IOL/The Star. 14 January 2009.
  18. 1 2 "Zuma sworn in as SA's fourth democratic President". SABC. 9 May 2009. Archived from the original on 29 May 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2009.