History

Former Heads of State, Former Heads of Government and Former Governors-General and their Deputies

Governor-General

The Union of South Africa was promulgated on 31 May 1910 after negotiations, which excluded black South Africans. The Union entailed the amalgamation of the four colonies in southern Africa (Orange Free State, Tranvaal, Natal and the Cape Colony) into a single political entity, which was itself a self-governing Dominion in the British Empire. The government of the Union was therefore subject to the Head of State of the British Empire, i.e. the King of England (at that time) who was represented in South Africa by an appointed Governor-General to whom the Prime Minister of the Union (the elected Head of Government of the Union) accounted. The Governor-General also represented the government of Britain as High Commissioner, i.e. (In these twin positions, his responsibilities also extended to the then Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (Botswana) and Swaziland.
State Presidents of the Republic

Following a racially-based referendum which excluded black people, South Africa was declared a Republic on 31 May 1961 and under international pressure withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations (which had replaced the British Empire). With the onset of the Republic, the Office of the Governor-General was abolished and the position of State President was created as the figurative head of state (a situation which remained from until 1983 when under the Tricameral Parliament, the position became substantive and effectively displaced the significance of the Prime Minister. The position of Prime Minister was eventually abolished in 1984).
Prime Ministers

The position of a Prime Minister was established in 1910, with the formation of the Union of South Africa. This position was the highest elected political office in the Union. It was abolished in 1984 by State President Willem De Klerk, when, under the Tricameral Parliament (established in 1983) the political significance of the position of the State President was increased and the position of Prime Minister became more and more superfluous.
Presidents of the Republic

Prior to the first non-racial elections in April 1994, South Africa adopted an interim constitution which provided for the position of President. The 1994 interim constitution finally gave way to the final constitution in 1996 which retained the position of President.

Governors-General

  • 17 July 1943 - 1 January 1946: Nicolaas Jacobus de Wet
  • 1 January 1946 - 1 January 1951: Gideon Brand van Zyl
  • 1 January 1951 - 25 November 1959: Ernest George Jansen
  • 26 November 1959 - 7 December 1959: Charles Robberts Swart

State Presidents of the Republic         

  • 31 May 1961 - 1 June 1967: Charles Robberts Swart
  • 1 June 1967 - 10 April 1968: Jozua Francois Naude
  • 10 April 1968 - 9 April 1975: Jacobus Johannes ('Jim') Fouché
  • 19 April 1975 - 21 August 1978: Nicolaas Johannes Diederichs
  • 21 August 1978 - 10 October 1978: Marais Viljoen
  • 10 October 1978 - 4 June 1979: Balthazar Johannes (BJ) Vorster
  • 4 June 1979 - 3 September 1984: Marais Viljoen
  • 3 September 1984 - 15 August 1989: Pieter Willem (PW) Botha
  • 15 August 1989 - 10 May 1994: Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk

Presidents of the Republic

  • 25 September 2008 - 9 May 2009: Kgalema Motlanthe
  • 16 June 1999 - 24 September 2008: Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki
  • 10 May 1994 - 16 June 1999: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Prime Ministers

  • 5 September 1939 - 4 June 1948: Jan Christiaan Smuts
  • 4 June 1948 - 30 November 1954: Daniel Francois (DF) Malan
  • 30 November 1954 - 24 August 1958: Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom
  • 2 September 1958 - 6 September 1966: Hendrik Frensch (HF) Verwoerd
  • 13 September 1966 - 29 September 1978: Balthazar Johannes (BJ) Vorster
  • 29 September 1978 - 14 September 1984: Pieter Willem (PW) Botha

Deputy Presidents of the Republic

Vice State President

  • 1 January 1981 - 14 September 1984: Alwyn Schlebusch

Deputy Presidents

  • 13 May 1994 - 16 June 1999: Thabo Mbeki (1st Executive deputy President)
  • 13 May 1994 - 30 June 1996: Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk (2nd Executive deputy President)
  • 17 June 1999 - 14 June 2005: Jacob Zuma
  • 23 June 2005 - 24 September 2008: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
  • 5 September 2008 - : Baleka Mbete

Ministers in the Presidency

  • 17 June 1999 - 24 September 2008: Essop Goolam Pahad
  • 26 September 2008 - : Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang

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