The government of South Africa is carried out under as a parliamentary republic, which means that the executive branch is accountable to the legislative branch. In this country, the President serves as both the Head of State and the Head of Government and oversees the Cabinet. Legislative duties are carried out by Parliament, a bicameral body made up of the National Council of Provinces (90 seats) and the National Assembly (400 seats). The judicial branch works independently of the executive and legislative branches.

Citizens of South Africa elect representatives to serve in the National Assembly for a 5-year term. These members then come together to elect the President from the current National Assembly. Once selected, the President resigns as a National Assembly representative and then appoints other National Assembly members to serve as Ministers of the Cabinet. Members of the National Council of Provinces are chosen by provincial level legislative bodies, the members of which are elected by the general population. The President of South Africa is also chosen to serve for 5 years, which is limited to 2 terms.

Members of Parliament meet in the Houses of Parliament building, which is located in Cape Town. The principal building was completed in 1884 in a Cape Dutch architectural style. The first addition was added during the 1920’s and the second addition was built during the 1980’s. The National Council of Provinces has its offices in the oldest part of the building, which the National Assembly is located in the newest addition. This building has been registered as a National Heritage Site.

The government of South Africa is carried out by multiple political parties. Currently, the African National Congress holds majority power in both the National Council of Provinces (with 60 seats) and the National Assembly (with 249 seats). This party has been in power since 1994. Other political parties represented in Parliament include the Democratic Alliance, which has 20 seats in the National Council and 89 seats in the National Assembly, and the Economic Freedom Fighters, which has 7 seats in the National Council and 25 seats in the National Assembly.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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