President of South Africa

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This article is about the position of South African head of state and head of government from 1994. For the position of South African head of state from 1961 to 1994, see State President of South Africa.
President of the
Republic of South Africa
Seal of the President of South Africa.png
Seal of the President of South Africa
Jacob Zuma 2010 (cropped).jpg
Jacob Zuma

since 9 May 2009
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
Formation 10 May 1994
Deputy Deputy President of South Africa
Salary R2,622,561[1]
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
South Africa
Foreign relations

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.

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 role was originally founded to be distinct from the now defunct role of prime minister, but the two roles were merged in the 1983 constitution which specified a four-year term of office. The 1993 and later constitutions 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, and the incumbent president is Jacob Zuma.

Under the interim Constitution (valid from 1994 to 1996), there was a Government of National Unity, in which an 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.

Electoral system[edit]

South Africa has a nearly unique 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[3] rather than by the people directly or an Electoral College, thus answerable to it in theory and able to influence legislation in practice as head of the majority party (presently the ANC). The Constitution has thus prescribed a system combining both parliamentary and presidential systems in a unique manner. Only Botswana uses a similar system.[4]

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, and is limited to two consecutive 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.[5]

Presidential powers[edit]

The President is addressed as "Your Excellency" or "Mr/Madam President" and referred to as "The Honourable (name)".

The official seat of the President are the Union Buildings in Pretoria and the Tuynhuys in Cape Town. His living residences are Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria, Genadendal in Cape Town and Dr John L Dube House in Durban.

List of Presidents of South Africa since 1994[edit]


      African National Congress

# Name
Picture Took office Left office Elected
Political Party
1 Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela.jpg 10 May 1994 14 June 1999 1994 (22nd) African National Congress
2 Thabo Mbeki
SthAfrica.ThaboMbeki.01.jpg 14 June 1999 24 September 2008
1999 (23rd)
2004 (24th)
African National Congress
3 Kgalema Motlanthe
Kgalema Motlanthe, 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa-1.jpg 25 September 2008 9 May 2009[6] 2008 (24th) African National Congress
4 Jacob Zuma
Jacob Zuma 2010 (cropped).jpg 9 May 2009[6] Incumbent 2009 (25th)
2014 (26th)
African National Congress

Latest election[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]