South Africa Table Mountain

The South Africa government type,
a basic overview

The South Africa government type is based on a constitutionaldemocracy, with a constitution that is regarded as one of the most progressive in the world, and a "Bill of Rights" second to none.


The country has a three-tier system of government, and an independent judiciary, operating under a parliamentary structure.

The South African government is decentralised in national, provincial and local levels of government, called the three tier system, each with its own legislature and executive, all based on a system of interdependent, interrelated and co-operative government.

Union buildings in Pretoria, official seat of the South African government, also housing the office of the President of South Africa - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type
Union buildings in Pretoria, official seat of the South African government, also housing the office of the President of South Africa - South Africa government
copyright © South African tourism




Aerial view of the Union buildings on top of Meintjes Kop in Pretoria and the surrounding gardens - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type
Aerial view of the Union buildings on top of Meintjes Kop in Pretoria and the surrounding gardens
South Africa government type - copyright © South African tourism

National Government,...

Parliament consists of two houses, the National Assembly with 400 members, elected by popular vote, and the National Council of Provinces with 90 members, 10 from each province, who are appointed by their provincial legislatures.

The South African State President is elected by the national Assembly and is the executive Head of State and Head of the cabinet. He may not serve more then 2 five-year terms in office.

Tuynhuis, the office of the President of South Africa in Cape Town - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type ?Tuynhuis?, the office of the President of South Africa in Cape Town - South African government type
Photograph by Ian Junor

The overall government of South Africa comprises three inter-connected branches:

  • Legislature

    The National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

  • Executive


  • The President, who is both Head of State and Head of Government and his cabinet of ministers.

  • Judiciary


  • The Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the High Court.
Houses of parliament in Cape Town, housing the National Assembly of South Africa and the National Council of Provinces - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type Houses of parliament in Cape Town, housing the National Assembly of South Africa and the National Council of Provinces - South Africa government type
copyright © South African tourism

South Africa has an independent judiciary, subject only to the Constitution and the law. It comprises the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, High Courts, Magistrates Courts, and other courts established or recognised in terms of an Act of Parliament.

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Provincial Government,...

The Constitutional court of South Africa on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type The Constitutional court of South Africa on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg - South Africa government type
copyright © MediaClubSouthAfrica.com

South Africa has nine provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West and Western Cape.

Each province has its own provincial government, with legislative power vested in a provincial legislature and executive power vested in a provincial premier and exercised together with the other members of a provincial executive council.

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Local Government,...

The City Hall of Durban - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type The City Hall of Durban - South Africa government type
copyright © South African tourism

Municipalities, which govern on a four-year term basis, run local affairs subject to national and provincial legislation, but the latter may not compromise or impede a municipality's right to exercise its powers or perform its functions.

Members of municipal councils are elected every four years on the basis of the relevant portion of the national common voters' roll. South Africa has 284 municipalities, divided into three categories.

Metropolitan Municipalities,...

The Grand Parade with the City Hall of Cape Town and the Table Mountain in the back ground - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type
The Grand Parade with the City Hall of Cape Town and the Table Mountain in the back ground - South Africa government type
copyright © South African tourism

Metropolitan municipalities, also known as Unicities, have exclusive municipal executive and legislative authority in their areas.

There are six of these: Cape Town, Durban, East Rand, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Port Elizabeth. They have a choice of two types of executives: the mayoral executive system, and the collective executive committee system.

District and Local councils,...

The Pretoria City Hall - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type
The Pretoria City Hall - South African government type
copyright © South African tourism

A district council has municipal executive and legislative authority over a large area, its primary responsibility being district-wide planning and capacity-building.

Within a district council's area are individual local councils which share their municipal authority with the district council under which they fall. District and local councils are interdependent and involve a division of powers.

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Traditional Leaders,...

Thunder storm over Pretoria by night, viewed from the Union Buildings on Meintjes Kop - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type Thunder storm over Pretoria by night, viewed from the Union Buildings on Meintjes Kop - South African government type
copyright © South African tourism

Just as the system of co-operative government was developed in acknowledgement of the diversity of the needs and concerns of the population of South Africa, so did the Constitution establish the right of communities living under traditional law and custom to influence the way in which the country is run.

The chamber of the National Assembly of South Africa - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type
The chamber of the National Assembly of South Africa - South Africa government type
copyright © Kaishu Tai

Houses of Traditional Leaders have been established at national level and in some provinces to carry out an advisory role in government. There are provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders in six provinces - Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga and North West.

The Union Buildings viewed from the University of South Africa’s main campus in Mucleneuck Pretoria, South Africa - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type
The Union Buildings viewed from the University of South Africa’s main campus in Mucleneuck Pretoria, South Africa - South Africa government type
copyright © South African tourism

Each provincial House nominates three members to the National House of Traditional Leaders, which elects its own office-bearers. The National House advises the national government on the role of traditional leaders and on customary law. It may also conduct its own investigations and advise the President on request.

The Union Buildings viewed at night from the University of South Africa’s main campus in Mucleneuck Pretoria, South Africa - South Africa Government, South Africa Government type The Union Buildings viewed at night from the University of South Africa’s main campus in Mucleneuck Pretoria, South Africa - South Africa government type
copyright © South African tourism






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Girl enjoying one of the South Africa beaches

Family enjoying a beach holiday in South Africa

Aerial view of Cape Town and Table Mountain in South Africa

Modern highway network in Port Elizabeth, South Africa


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