Definitions for government terms, listed alphabetically.
Bail - Money paid by someone who is charged with a crime to allow them to go free while they wait for the court hearing.
Ballot paper - The form used in elections listing all the candidates or parties. Each voter marks their choice on the ballot paper which is then placed in a sealed box.
Bargaining Council - An industry body where workers and employers meet to make agreements on wages and working conditions.
Basic services - Essential services that government is expected to provide.
For example, water, sanitation and electricity.
Batho Pele - "People First", the 8 principles of service delivery adopted by government, namely: consultation, service standards, access, courtesy, information, openness and transparency, redress and value for money.
Bill of Rights - Chapter 2 of the Constitution sets out the basic rights enjoyed by all South Africans. It also sets out the limited circumstances in which these rights can be infringed.
Biochemistry - "Biological chemistry", the study of the chemicals and chemical reactions that occur in living organisms.
Biological diversity or Biodiversity - The number and variety of living organisms on earth and the ecosystems and environments of which they are part. The three main components of biodiversity are genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity.
Biotechnology - The commercial application of technology to living organisms or their products or processes to create new tools, products and services.
Birth certificate - Certificate issued by the Department of Home Affairs when a new-born baby is entered into the population register.
Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) - An economic transformation process aimed at increasing the number of black people that manage, own and control the country's economy. It also aims to decrease income inequalities.
Branding - An identification mark that is burned into an animals hide to show that it belongs to a particular farmer.
The creation of an identified look and feel that is associated with a particular product, service or organisation.
Budget - An estimate or educated guess at the income and expenditure of a country, organisation or project. One of the ways in which government bodies are held accountable for their spending is their budgets.
Bureaucracy - A complex system of running government business using fixed procedures and many levels of employees with different functions and decision-making powers.
Bushmen - Preferrably called the San, these hunter-gatherers have inhabited South Africa for at least the last 100 000 years. The last remaining San people live in the Khalahari area of the Northern Cape.
Business environment - The economic, political, social, cultural and institutional conditions that impact on a business.
Business ethics - The moral standards and principles that are applied to business relationships and activities.
Business licence - A licence needed to run a legal business. Different kinds of business have different licensing requirements.
Business model - A description or diagram illustrating how an organisation functions, how its processes work and how different aspects of the organisation relate to one another.
Business Referral and Information Network (BRAIN) - A business network that provides information and support services to businesses.
Business strategy or business plan - A planning document that sets out the goals, objectives, strategies and proposed activities of an organisation.
By-elections - Elections that take place outside of the general elections, usually when an elected representative has died or resigned and needs to be replaced.