Presidency in South Africa

The President is the head of state and of the national executive. He exercises executive authority together with other members of the Cabinet, namely the Deputy President and Ministers. The executive develops policy, for example by preparing and initiating legislation which it submits to Parliament for approval. It then implements that policy by running the administration of the country by means of the different government departments. The executive accounts for its actions and policies to Parliament.

The President of the Republic of South Africa is elected by the Parliament. Since 1984, the State Presidents is both Head of State and Government.

The leader of the largest party in the Parliament is usually elected as the President. Since the universal suffrage elections were introduced in 1994, the President has been from the ruling African National Congress. The Constitution also limits the President's time in office to two terms, each five years long.

The Constitution of 1996 makes a provision for an Office of the President, which became known as The Presidency. As the executive manager of government. The Presidency's key role is to organize governance. The Presidency comprises of four political principals: The President, who is the Head of State and Government, The Deputy President, who is the Leader of Government Business (in Parliament), the Minister of the National Planning Commission and the Minister of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration.

The Presidency has three structures which support governance operations directly: they are the Cabinet Office; Policy Co-ordination and Advisory Services (PCAS); and Legal and Executive Services.

The president of the Republic of South Africa is the head of the State and Government and leader of the Cabinet. The president appoints ministers and members to the Cabinet, awards and confers the National Orders of the State, appoints the Chief Justices of the State, approves all bills, amendments and legislation. The president is also the Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force and has the power to declare war or peace.

List of Presidents of South Africa


  • Charles Robberts Swart (31 May 1961 - 31 May 1967), National Party
  • Theophilus Ebenhaezer Dönges (31 May 1967 - 10 December 1967) National Party
  • Jozua François Naudé (Acting) (1 June 1967 - 10 April 1968), National Party
  • Jacobus Johannes Fouché (10 April 1968 - 9 April 1975), National Party
  • Johannes de Klerk (Acting) (9 April 1975 - 19 April 1975), National Party
  • Nicolaas Johannes Diederichs (19 April 1975 - 21 August 1978), National Party
  • Marais Viljoen (Acting) (21 August 1978 - 10 October 1978), National Party
  • Balthazar Johannes Vorster (10 October 1978 - 4 June 1979), National Party
  • Marais Viljoen (19 June 1979 - 3 September 1984), National Party
  • Pieter Willem Botha (14 September 1984 - 15 August 1989), National Party
  • Chris Heunis (Acting) (19 January 1989 - 15 March 1989), National Party
  • Frederik Willem de Klerk (20 September 1989 - 10 May 1994), National Party


  • Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (10 May 1994 - 16 June 1999), African National Congress
  • Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki  (16 June 1999 - 24 September 2008), African National Congress
  • Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe (25 September 2008 - 9 May 2009), African National Congress
  • Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (9 May 2009), Incumbent President, African National Congress


Also see:

The Presidency

The President

Presidency Kids