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State President of South Africa: Wikis


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State President of South Africa
Coat of Arms of South Africa (1932-2000).svg
Office Abolished
Position succeeded by the
President of South Africa
Style His Excellency
Appointer Parliament of South Africa
Term length 5 Years
Inaugural holder Charles Robberts Swart
Formation 31 May 1961
15 August 1989 (Executive Powers)
Deputy Vice State President of South Africa (1981-1984)

State President, or Staatspresident in Afrikaans, was South Africa's head of state from 1961 to 1994. The office was established when the country became a republic in 1961, and Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be head of state. The position of Governor-General of the Union of South Africa was accordingly abolished.


Ceremonial post

State President's Flag 1961-1985

The Republic of South Africa was proclaimed on 31 May 1961. Charles Robberts Swart, the last Governor-General, was sworn in as the first State President. Like Paul Kruger, and other presidents of Boer republics, the State President wore a sash with the Republic's coat of arms, but performed mainly ceremonial duties. The ruling National Party decided against having an executive presidency, instead adopting a minimalist approach, as a conciliatory gesture to English-speaking whites who were opposed to a republic. The President was elected by the Parliament. Like Governors-General before them, State Presidents were retired National Party ministers, and consequently, white, Afrikaner, and male.

Executive post

State President's Flag 1985-1994

Following constitutional reforms, in 1984, the office of State President became an executive post, as in the United States, and the office of Prime Minister of South Africa was abolished. P. W. Botha became the new State President, until his resignation in 1989, when he was replaced by F. W. de Klerk, who oversaw the transition to majority rule in 1994.

End of white minority rule

Under South Africa's first non-racial Constitution, adopted in 1994, the head of state (and of government) was known simply as the President. Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress, was sworn in as President on 11 May 1994.

List of State Presidents

# Name Picture Life span Took office Left office Political Party
State Presidents as head of state (Ceremonial, 1961-1984)
1 Charles Robberts Swart CR Swart.jpg 1894 — 1982 31 May 1961 31 May 1967 National Party
- Theophilus Ebenhaezer Dönges 1898 — 1968 Elected, but did not take office because of illness ----- National Party
Jozua François Naudé
1889 — 1969 1 June 1967 10 April 1968 National Party
2 Jacobus Johannes Fouché 1898 — 1980 10 April 1968 9 April 1975 National Party
Johannes de Klerk
1903 — 1979 9 April 1975 19 April 1975 National Party
3 Nicolaas Diederichs 1903 — 1978 19 April 1975 21 August 1978
(died in office)
National Party
Marais Viljoen
1915 — 2007 21 August 1978 10 October 1978 National Party
4 Balthazar Johannes Vorster 1915 — 1983 10 October 1978 4 June 1979
National Party
5 Marais Viljoen 1915 — 2007 19 June 1979
Acting since 4 June 1979
3 September 1984 National Party
State Presidents as Head of State and Government (Executive, 1984-1994)
1 Pieter Willem Botha 1916 — 2006 14 September 1984
Acting since 3 September 1984
15 August 1989
National Party
Chris Heunis
1927 — 2006 19 January 1989 15 March 1989 National Party
2 Frederik Willem de Klerk Frederik Willem de Klerk.jpg 1936 —         20 September 1989
Acting since 15 August 1989
10 May 1994 National Party

See also

External links



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