is Republic and gained independance from the United
Kingdom in 1910
The Head of State and Government
has been President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki since 1999.
Under the terms of the new Constitution, which
was assumed on 8 May 1996 and entered into force on 4 February 1997,
legislative power is vested in a bicameral Parliament, consisting
of a National Assembly and a National Council of Provinces (formerly
The National Assembly is elected by universal adult suffrage under
a system of relative representation and has from 350 to 400 members.
The 90 member National Council of Provinces comprises 6 permanent
delegates and 4 special delegates from each of the provincial legislatures.
The President, who is elected by the National Assembly from among
its members, uses executive power in discussion with the other members
of the Cabinet.
South Africa has held 3 successful national elections
as well as local polls since the 1st genuinely comprehensive national
election in South Africa, which was held in February 1994. Thabo
Mbeki was elected by Parliament to a 2nd 5 year term in April 2004,
following the landslide general election victory of his ruling African
National Congress (ANC). Mr Mbeki took over as President after Nelson
Mandela stepped down in mid 1999. Mbeki’s administration is
under pressure, with 2 major domestic problems, a huge violent crime
wave and an HIV - AIDS pandemic, which afflicts over 10 % of the
adult population. Mbeki’s persistent refusal to come to terms
with the true nature of the HIV virus has drawn huge international
criticism as well as being the subject of furious arguments between
Mbeki and Mandela.