Premier (South Africa)

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In South Africa, a Premier

is the head of government of one of South Africa's nine provinces. The Premier of a province plays for that province a role similar to that played by the President for the country as a whole.


Elections for the nine provincial legislatures are held every five years, simultaneously with the election of the National Assembly; the last such election occurred on 7 May 2014. At the first meeting of the provincial legislature after an election, the members choose the Premier from amongst themselves. The legislature can force the Premier to resign by a motion of no confidence. If the Premiership becomes vacant (for whatever reason) the legislature must choose a new Premier to serve out the period until the next election. One person cannot have serve more than two five-year terms as Premier; however, when a Premier is chosen to fill a vacancy the time until the next election does not count as a term.[1]


In terms of the Constitution, the executive authority of a province is vested in the Premier. The Premier appoints an Executive Council made up of five to ten members of the provincial legislature; they are known as Members of the Executive Council (MECs). The MECs are effectively ministers and the Executive Council a cabinet at the provincial level. The Premier has the power to hire and fire MECs at his/her own discretion.

The Premier and the Executive Council are responsible for implementing provincial legislation, along with any national legislation assigned to the provinces. They set provincial policy and manage the departments of the provincial government; their actions are subject to the national constitution and the provincial constitution (if there is one).

In order for an act of the provincial legislature to become law, the Premier must sign it. If he/she believes that the act is unconstitutional, it can be referred back to the legislature for reconsideration. If the Premier and the legislature cannot agree, the act must be referred to the Constitutional Court for a final decision.

The Premier is also ex officio a member of the National Council of Provinces, the upper house of Parliament, as one of the special delegates from his or her province.

List of current Premiers[edit]

Province Premier Party Elected Past Premiers
Eastern Cape Phumulo Masualle ANC 21 May 2014 List
Free State Ace Magashule ANC 6 May 2009 List
Gauteng David Makhura ANC 21 May 2014 List
KwaZulu-Natal Willies Mchunu ANC 24 May 2016 List
Limpopo Stanley Mathabatha ANC 18 July 2013 List
Mpumalanga David Mabuza ANC 6 May 2009 List
North West Supra Mahumapelo ANC 21 May 2014 List
Northern Cape Sylvia Lucas ANC 23 May 2013 List
Western Cape Helen Zille DA 6 May 2009 List

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Constitution of South Africa

External links[edit]