South Africa/Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of South Africa
conventional short form: South Africa
abbreviation: RSA

Data code: SF

Government type: republic

Capital: Pretoria; note - Cape Town is the legislative centre and Bloemfontein the judicial centre

Administrative divisions: see Provinces

Independence: 31 May 1910 (from UK)

National holiday: Freedom Day, 27 April (1994)

Constitution: 10 December 1996; this new constitution was certified by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996, was signed by then President Mandela on 10 December 1996, and entered into effect on 3 February 1997; it is being implemented in phases

Legal system: based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Thabo Mbeki (since 16 June 1999); Executive Deputy President Jacob Zuma (since 17 June 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Thabo Mbeki (since 16 June 1999); Executive Deputy President Jacob Zuma (since 17 June 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government.
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term; election last held 2 June 1999 (next scheduled for sometime between May and July 2004)
election results: Thabo Mbeki elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 100% (by acclamation)
note: ANC-IFP governing coalition

Legislative branch: bicameral parliament consisting of the National Assembly (400 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a system of proportional representation to serve five-year terms) and the National Council of Provinces (90 seats, 10 members elected by each of the nine provincial legislatures for five-year terms; has special powers to protect regional interests, including the safeguarding of cultural and linguistic traditions among ethnic minorities); note - following the implementation of the new constitution on 3 February 1997 the former Senate was disbanded and replaced by the National Council of Provinces with essentially no change in membership and party affiliations, although the new institution's responsibilities have been changed somewhat by the new constitution
elections: National Assembly and National Council of Provinces - last held 2 June 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - ANC 66.4%, DP 9.6%, IFP 8.6%, NP 6.9%, UDM 3.4, FF 0.8%, other 4.3%; seats by party - ANC 266, DP 38, IFP 34, NP 28, UDM 14, FF 3, other 17; National Council of Provinces - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANC 61, NP 17, FF 4, IFP 5, DP 3 -- Since the election the NP and DP have combined to form the Democratic Alliance (DA), but will be unable to act under this banner until 2004, since South African legislation does not allow representatives to change their party affiliation.

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court; Supreme Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate Courts

Political parties and leaders: African Christian Democratic Party or ACDP (Kenneth Meshoe, president); African National Congress or ANC (Thabo Mbeki, president); Democratic Party or DP (Tony Leon, president); Freedom Front or FF (Constand Viljoen, president); Inkatha Freedom Party or IFP (Mangosuthu Buthelezi, president); National Party (now the New National Party) or NP (Marthinus van Schalkwyk, executive director); Pan-Africanist Congress or PAC (Stanley Mogoba, president); United Democratic Movement or UDM (Bantu Holomisa)

Political pressure groups and leaders: Congress of South African Trade Unions or COSATU (Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary); South African Communist Party or SACP [Blade Nzimande, general secretary); South African National Civics Organization or SANCO (Mlungisi Hlongwane), national president]; note - COSATU and SACP are in a formal alliance with the ANC.

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, BIS, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MONUC, NAM, NSG, OAU, OPCW, PCA, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNITAR, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Makate Sheila Sisulu
chancery: 3051 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-4400
FAX: [1] (202) 265-1607
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Delano E. Lewis
embassy: 877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia 0083
mailing address: P. O. Box 9536, Pretoria 0001
telephone: [27] (12) 342-1048
FAX: [27] (12) 342-2244
consulate(s) general: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg

Flag description: two equal width horizontal bands of red (top) and blue separated by a central green band which splits into a horizontal Y, the arms of which end at the corners of the hoist side; the Y embraces a black isosceles triangle from which the arms are separated by narrow yellow bands; the red and blue bands are separated from the green band and its arms by narrow white stripes - see South African national flag
note: prior to 26 April 1994, the flag was actually four flags in one - three miniature flags reproduced in the center of the white band of the former flag of the Netherlands, which has three equal horizontal bands of orange (top), white, and blue; the miniature flags are a vertically hanging flag of the old Orange Free State with a horizontal flag of the UK adjoining on the hoist side and a horizontal flag of the old Transvaal Republic adjoining on the other side.