The position of Vice State President was created when the Senate was abolished in 1981. During his tenure, Schlebusch chaired the President's Council, which advised on the creation of a new constitution. The post was abolished when the new constitution came into effect, replacing the ceremonial post of State President with an executive State President.
Before holding the post, Schlebusch was mayor of Hennenman in the 1940s, Member of Parliament for Kroonstad from 1962–1980, Minister of Public Works and Immigration in 1976, and Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs in 1979.
Subsequently, he held the position of Minister in the Office of the President in 1986. He died on 7 January 2008. He was survived by a son and two daughters, 14 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. His wife, Isabel, died in 1996 of cancer. She founded the "Toktokkie" cancer campaign in South Africa.