|State President of South Africa |
Staatspresident van Suid-Afrika
Standard of the State President (1984–1994)
|Style||The Honourable (until 1985)|
|Appointer||Parliament of South Africa|
|Term length||7 years (until 1984)|
Duration of Parliament
(normally 5 years) (1984–94)
|Formation||31 May 1961 (ceremonial)|
15 August 1984 (executive)
|First holder||Charles Robberts Swart|
|Final holder||Frederik Willem de Klerk|
|Abolished||10 May 1994|
|Succession||President of South Africa|
|Deputy||Vice State President of South Africa (1981–1984)|
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.
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.
From 1910 to 1961 the Union of South Africa was a self-governing country that shared a monarch with the United Kingdom, and other Dominions of the British Empire. The monarch's constitutional roles were mostly delegated to the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa.
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.
Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid was characterised by an authoritarian political culture based on baasskap, which encouraged state repression of Black African, Coloured, and Asian South Africans for the benefit of the nation's minority white population. The economic legacy and social effects of apartheid continue to the present day.
The President of the Republic of South Africa is the head of state and head of government under the Constitution of South Africa. From 1961 to 1994, the head of state was called the State President.
Republicanism had long been a plank in the platform of the ruling National Party. However, it was not until 1960, 12 years after it took power, that it was able to hold a referendum on the issue. A narrow majority—52 percent— of the minority white electorate voted in favour of abolishing the monarchy and declaring South Africa a republic.
The National Party, also known as the Nationalist Party, was a political party in South Africa founded in 1914 and disbanded in 1997. The party was originally an Afrikaner ethnic nationalist party that promoted Afrikaner interests in South Africa. However in the early 1990s it became a South African civic nationalist party seeking to represent all South Africans. It first became the governing party of the country in 1924. It was in opposition during World War II but it returned to power and was again in the government from 4 June 1948 until 9 May 1994.
The Republic of South Africa was proclaimed on 31 May 1961. Charles Robberts Swart, the last Governor-General, was sworn in as the first State President. The title 'State President' was originally used for the head of state of the Boer Republics,and like them, the holder of the office wore a sash with the Republic's coat of arms. He was elected to a seven-year term by the Parliament of South Africa, and was not eligible for re-election.
The Boer Republics were independent, self-governed republics in the last half of the nineteenth century, created by the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of the Cape Colony and their descendants, variously named Trekboers, Boers and Voortrekkers in mainly the middle, northern and north eastern and eastern parts of what is now the country of South Africa. Two of the Boer Republics achieved international recognition and complete independence: the South African Republic and the Orange Free State. The republics did not provide separation of church and state, and initially only the Dutch Reformed Church, then also other churches in the Calvinist Protestant tradition, were allowed. The republics came to an end after the Second Boer War which resulted in the British annexation and later incorporation into the Union of South Africa.
A presidential sash is a cloth sash worn by presidents of many nations in the world. Such sashes are worn by presidents in Africa, Asia, Europe and, most notably, in Latin America.
A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of shield, supporters, crest, and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, family, state, organization or corporation.
The National Party decided against having an executive presidency, instead adopting a minimalist approach as a conciliatory gesture to English-speaking whites who were opposed to a republic.As such, the State President performed mostly ceremonial duties, and was bound by convention to act on the advice of the Prime Minister and the cabinet.
The Prime Minister of South Africa was the head of government in South Africa between 1910 and 1984.
In practice, the post of State President was a sinecure for retired National Party ministers, as the Governor-General's post had been since 1948. Consequently, all State Presidents from 1961 to 1984 were white, Afrikaner, male, and over 60.
A sinecure is an office – carrying a salary or otherwise generating income – that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medieval church, where it signified a post without any responsibility for the "cure [care] of souls", the regular liturgical and pastoral functions of a cleric, but came to be applied to any post, secular or ecclesiastical, that involved little or no actual work. Sinecures have historically provided a potent tool for governments or monarchs to distribute patronage, while recipients are able to store up titles and easy salaries.
Following constitutional reforms, in 1984, the office of State President became an executive post, as in the United States. The Prime Minister's post was abolished, and its powers were de facto merged with those of the State President. He was elected by an electoral college of 88 members—50 Whites, 25 Coloureds, and 13 Indians–from among the members of the Tricameral Parliament. The members of the electoral college were elected by the respective racial groups of the Tricameral Parliament—the white House of Assembly, Coloured House of Representatives and Indian House of Delegates. He held office for the Parliament's duration—in practice, five years. The last Prime Minister, P. W. Botha, was elected as the first executive State President.
The State President was vested with sweeping executive powers—in most respects, even greater than those of comparative offices like the President of the United States. He had sole jurisdiction over matters of "national" concern, such as foreign policy and race relations. He was chairman of the President's Council, which resolved disputes between the three chambers regarding "general affairs" legislation. This body consisted of 60 members – 20 members appointed by the House of Assembly, 10 by the House of Representatives, five by the House of Delegates and 25 directly by the State President.
Although the reforms were billed as a power-sharing arrangement, the composition of the electoral college and President's Council made it all but impossible for the white chamber to be outvoted on any substantive matter. Thus, the real power remained in white hands—and in practice, in the hands of the National Party, which had a large majority in the white chamber. As Botha was leader of the National Party, the system placed nearly all governing power in his hands.
Botha resigned in 1989 and was succeeded by F. W. de Klerk, who oversaw the transition to majority rule in 1994.
Under South Africa's first non-racial constitution, adopted in 1994, the head of state (and of government) is known simply as the President. However, since the declaration of the republic in 1961, most non-South African sources had referred to the State President as simply the "President".The leader of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela, was sworn in as President on 10 May 1994.
|Picture||Took office||Left office||Elected|
|State presidents as head of state (Ceremonial, 1961–1984)|
|1|| Charles Robberts Swart |
|31 May 1961||31 May 1967||—||National Party|
|—|| Theophilus Ebenhaezer Dönges |
|Elected but did not take office because of illness||—||National Party|
|—|| Tom Naudé |
|1 June 1967||10 April 1968||—||National Party|
|2|| Jacobus Johannes Fouché |
|10 April 1968||9 April 1975||—||National Party|
|—|| Johannes de Klerk |
|9 April 1975||19 April 1975||—||National Party|
|3|| Nicolaas Johannes Diederichs |
|19 April 1975||21 August 1978|
(Died in office)
|—|| Marais Viljoen |
|21 August 1978||10 October 1978||—||National Party|
|4|| Balthazar Johannes Vorster |
|10 October 1978||4 June 1979|
|5|| Marais Viljoen |
|19 June 1979|
4 June 1979
|3 September 1984||—||National Party|
|State presidents as head of state and government (Executive, 1984–1994)|
|1|| Pieter Willem Botha |
|14 September 1984|
3 September 1984
|15 August 1989|
|1987 (20th)||National Party|
|2|| Frederik Willem de Klerk |
|20 September 1989|
15 August 1989
|10 May 1994||1989 (21st)||National Party|
There is one living former South African State President:
Tricameralism is the practice of having three legislative or parliamentary chambers. It is contrasted with unicameralism and bicameralism, both of which are far more common.
The Governor-General of the Union of South Africa was the highest state official in the Union of South Africa between 31 May 1910 and 31 May 1961. The Union of South Africa was founded as a self-governing Dominion of the British Empire in 1910 and the office of governor-general was established as the representative of the monarch. Fifty-one years later the country declared itself a republic and the historic link with the British monarchy was broken. The office of governor-general was abolished.
The Parliament of South Africa is South Africa's legislature and under the country's current Constitution is composed of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
Pieter Willem Botha,, commonly known as "P. W." and Die Groot Krokodil, was the leader of South Africa from 1978 to 1989, serving as the last Prime Minister from 1978 to 1984 and the first executive State President from 1984 to 1989.
The Senate was the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa between 1910 and its abolition from 1 January 1981, and between 1994 and 1997.
The Tricameral Parliament was the name given to the South African parliament and its structure from 1984 to 1994, established by the South African Constitution of 1983. While still entrenching the political power of the White section of the South African population, it did give a limited political voice to the country's Coloured and Indian population groups. The majority Black population group was still however excluded.
A referendum on a new constitution was held in South Africa on 2 November 1983 in which the white population was given the opportunity to approve or reject the Constitution of 1983. This constitution introduced the Tricameral Parliament, in which coloured and Indian South Africans would be represented in separate parliamentary chambers, while black South Africans would remain unrepresented. The referendum passed with 66.3% of voters voting "Yes"; consequently the new constitution came into force on 3 September 1984.
The State Security Council (SSC) was formed in South Africa in 1972 to advise the government on the country's national policy and strategy concerning security, its implementation and determining security priorities. Its role changed through the prime ministerships of John Vorster and PW Botha, being little used during the formers and during the latter’s, controlling all aspects of South African public's lives by becoming the Cabinet. During those years he would implement a Total National Strategy, Total Counter-revolutionary Strategy and finally in the mid-eighties, established the National Security Management System (NSMS). After FW de Klerk's rise to the role of State President, the Cabinet would eventually regain control of the management of the country. After the 1994 elections a committee called National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee was formed to advise the South African president on security and intelligence as well as its implementation.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) is a defunct intelligence agency of the Republic of South Africa that replaced the older Bureau of State Security (BOSS) in 1980. Associated with the Apartheid era in South Africa, it was replaced on 1 January 1995 by the South African Secret Service and the National Intelligence Agency with the passage of the Intelligence Act (1994).
The House of Assembly was the lower house of the Parliament of South Africa from 1910 to 1981, the sole parliamentary chamber between 1981 and 1984, and latterly the white representative house of the Tricameral Parliament from 1984 to 1994, when it was replaced by the current National Assembly. Throughout its history, it was exclusively constituted of white members who were elected to office predominantly by white citizens, though until 1960 and 1970, respectively, some Black Africans and Coloureds in the Cape Province voted under a restricted form of suffrage.
Jan Christiaan 'Chris' Heunis, DMS was a South African Afrikaner lawyer, politician, member of the National Party and cabinet minister in the governments of John Vorster and P.W. Botha.
The Constitution of 1983 was South Africa's third constitution. It replaced the republican constitution that had been adopted when South Africa became a republic in 1961 and was in force for ten years before it was superseded by the Interim Constitution on 27 April 1994, which in turn led to the current Constitution of South Africa, which has been in force since 1997.
The Constitution of 1961 was the fundamental law of South Africa for two decades. Under the terms of the constitution South Africa left the Commonwealth and became a republic. Legally, the Union of South Africa, which had existed since 1910, came to an end and was re-established as the "Republic of South Africa".
The provincial councils were the legislatures of the four original provinces of South Africa. They were created at the foundation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, and abolished in 1986 when they were replaced by a strengthened executive appointed by the State President. The four provincial councils were the Cape Provincial Council, the Natal Provincial Council, the Transvaal Provincial Council and the Orange Free State Provincial Council.
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