Political System of South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is a federal state comprising of a national government and nine provincial governments. The constitution of South Africa was adopted in 1996 and implemented officially on 4 February, 1997. Under the political system of South Africa, the President is the executive head of the state elected by the parliament for two five year terms. The political system of South Africa has significantly evolved since the apartheid era.

Political structure of South Africa

The Executive
President is both the executive Head of State and also leads the Cabinet. He is elected by the National Assembly for two five year terms. The President is subject to impeachment by the National Assembly under the following conditions:

•  On grounds of violation of the constitution or law

•  Misconduct

•  Inability to perform office functions.

The Cabinet comprises of the President, Deputy President and the ministers. The President as the Head of Cabinet appoints the Deputy President from amongst the National Assembly members. He is also responsible for assigning powers and functions to the Deputy. The members of the Cabinet are accountable to the parliament, both individually and collectively.

The Legislative
The bicameral Parliament of South Africa consists of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. The National Assembly is presided over by a Speaker with the assistance of a Deputy Speaker and the members are elected by the system of proportional representation. The members are elected for a five year term and consist of not more than 400 members or not less than 350 members.

The National Council of Provinces elects its own chairperson and comprises of 54 permanent members and 36 special delegates. The National Council of Provinces is elected by the nine provincial legislatures.

The Judiciary
The constitution of South Africa provides for an independent judiciary and the Constitutional Court is the country's highest court of appeal. Alongside the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court also shares the position of the highest court in the country. While the Constitutional Court only decides on constitutional matters, the Supreme Court of Appeal deals with final appeals on all other matters.

The leading political parties of South Africa are:

•  The African National Congress (ANC) - the governing party.

•  The Inkatha Freedom Party (Inkatha or IFP)

•  Democratic Alliance (DA)

•  South African Communist Party (SACP)


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