The Government of South Africa: Overview
The National Government of South Africa is comprised of Parliament, Cabinet and various Departments. These components carry out functions as outlined in the Constitution and in legislation enacted by Parliament.
- The National Government Departments
- The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa
- The South African Parliament
- Overview of South Africa
The National Government Departments
The Departments that make up the national administration are charged with implementing legislation and providing services to the public.
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Department of Arts and Culture
Department of Basic Education
Department of Communications
Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Department of Correctional Services
Department of Defence and Military Veterans
Department of Economic Development
Department of Energy
Department of Environmental Affairs
Department of Health
Department of Higher Education and Training
Department of Home Affairs
Department of Human Settlements
Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Department of Labour
Department of Mineral Resources
Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Department of Police
Department of Public EnterprisesDepartment of Public Service and Administration
Department of Public Works
Department of Rural Development and Land Reform
Department of Science and Technology
Department of Social Development
Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa
Department of State Security
Department of Tourism
Department of Trade and Industry
Department of Transport
Department of Water Affairs
Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities
Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
Independent Police Complaints Directorate
National Planning Commission
Public Service Commission
Statistics South Africa
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996) came into effect on 4 February 1997. This is the highest law in South Africa and no other law or government action can overrule the Constitution or be in conflict with it.
South Africa's Constitution is one of the most progressive in the world and is based on the values of dignity, equality and freedom.
Chapter 2 of the Constitution contains the Bill of Rights.
The South African Parliament
The South African Parliament is responsible for creating and amending the countries laws in accordance with the
Constitution. It consists of two parts, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
The National Assembly consists of 400 elected representatives who meet at the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town, to debate issues and create legislation.
The National Council of Provinces consists of 54 permanent members and 36 special delegates representing the nine provinces. The NCOP represents provincial interests in the national sphere of government.
The executive arm of national government is headed up by the Cabinet which consists of the President, the Deputy President and various Ministers appointed by the President from the National Assembly. The President also determines which functions each of the Ministers will perform.
The Cabinet members currently are:
- Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma - President
- Mr Cyril Ramaphosa - Deputy President
- Mr Senzeni Zokwana - Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
- Mr Nkosinathi Emmanuel "Nathi" Mthethwa - Arts and Culture
- Ms Matsie Angelina Motshekga - Basic Education
- Ms Mamaloko Kubayi-Ngubane- Communications
- Mr Malusi Knowledge Nkanyezi Gigaba - Finance
- Mr David van Rooyen - Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs
- Mr Tshililo Michael Masutha - Justice and Correctional Services
- Ms Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula - Defence and Military Veterans
- Mr Ebrahim Patel - Economic Development
- Mr Davide Mbongiseni Mahlobo - Energy
- Ms Bomo Edna Nolewa - Environmental Affairs
- Dr Pakishe Aaron Motsoaledi - Health
- Prof Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize- Higher Education and Training
- Ms Ayanda Dlodlo - Home Affairs
- Ms Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu - Human Settlements
- Ms Maite M Nkoana-Mashabane - International Relations and Cooperation
- Ms Mildrid Oliphant - Labour
- Mr Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane- Mineral Resources
- Mr Jeffrey Thamsanqa Radebe - Minister in the Presidency
- Ms Susan Shabangu - Minister of Women in the Presidency
- Mr Fikile April Mbalula - Police
- Ms Lynne Brown - Public Enterprises
- Ms Faith Muthambi - Public Service and Administration
- Mr Nkosinathi Phiwayinkosi Thamsanqa Nhleko - Public Works
- Mr Gugile Ernest Nkwinti - Rural Development and Land Reform
- Ms Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor - Science and Technology
- Ms Lindiwe Zulu - Small Business Development
- Ms Bathabile Olive Dlamini - Social Development
- Mr Thembelani Thulas Nxesi - Sport and Recreation
- Adv Bongani Thomas Bongo- State Security
- Dr Siyabonga Cyprian Cwele - Telecommunications and Postal Services
- Ms Tokozile Xasa - Tourism
- Dr Rob Davies - Trade and Industry
- Mr Mkhacani Joseph Maswanganyi - Transport
- Ms Nomvula Mokonyane - Water and Sanitation
Overview of South Africa
South Africa consists of 1 219 090 km² at the southern-most tip of Africa. There is a population of approximately 51.8 million people (Statistics South Africa, Census 2011).
South Africa is characterised by the diversity of its people in terms of race, culture and religion. This is reflected in the 11 national languages protected by the South African Constitution.
The country is divided into nine provinces, each with its own provincial parliament and administration. The nine provinces are:
- Western Cape
- Eastern Cape
- Free State
- Limpopo (formerly Northern Province)
- Northern Cape
- North West
For more information on South Africa, consult the South Africa Yearbook.
The National Coat of Arms
A national Coat of Arms, or state emblem, is the highest visual symbol of the State. The Coat of Arms is also a central part of the Great Seal, traditionally considered to be the highest emblem of the State. Absolute authority is given to every document with an impression of the Great Seal on it, which means it has been approved by the President of South Africa.
South Africa’s Coat of Arms was launched on Freedom Day, 27 April 2000. The change reflected government's aim to highlight the democratic change in South Africa and a new sense of patriotism.
- The motto
- The ears of wheat
- Elephant tusks
- The shield
- The human figures
- The spear and knobkierie
- The protea
- The secretary bird
- The rising sun
Read more about the National Coat of Arms and what it represents.