Trade Union Forum


General overview

The official name: the Republic of South Africa.
Government type: Parliamentary republic.
President: Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa (2021).
Official languages: Afrikaans, English, Southern Ndebele, Xhosa, Zulu, Northern Soto, Tswana, Swazi, Venda, Tsonga.
Capital: Pretoria.


After periods of Dutch and British reigns, South Africa gained independence in 1961, becoming the Republic of South Africa and seceding from the Commonwealth of Nations. The consequences of apartheid – a regime aimed at creating "South Africa for white people", which significantly limited the rights of the black population – used to be the main issue in the country for a long time.

In September 1989, active efforts were made to dismantle the apartheid system. The change of the political system was peaceful. Many discriminatory laws were repealed; anti-apartheid activists were released from prison. In 1993, the provisional Constitution of South Africa was adopted. In 1994, the first general elections were held, which were won by the African National Congress, which is still in power. This restored South Africa's membership in the Commonwealth of Nations.

On 11 October 1996, the Constituent Assembly adopted the current Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. It was signed by South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela on 10 December and enforced on 4 February 1997, repealing the provisional Constitution of 1993.

Country leaders:

From 1994, in accordance with the current Constitution, the head of State and Government is the President, who is elected by the National Assembly for a term up to the next general election.

  • Nelson Holilala Mandela served as the President from 10 May 1994 to 16 June 1999. Politician, during his years in office, undertook a number of important socio-economic reforms to overcome social and economic inequalities in South Africa.
  • Thabo Mwuelwa Mbeki served as the President from 16 June 1999 to 24 September 2008. Politician has earned a controversial reputation for actively speaking out from the position of denying the viral nature of AIDS.
  • Kgalema Petrus Motlante served as the President from 25 September 2008 to 9 May 2009.
  • Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma served as the President since 9 May 2009 to 14 February 2018. He was driven from office by the opposition.
  • Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa serves as the President from 15 February 2018. State, political and trade union leader, entrepreneur.

Administrative division

South Africa is a unitary state. The territory of the country is divided into 9 provinces, each of which has its own administrative center:

  • Western Cape Province (Cape Town);
  • North Cape Province (Kimberley);
  • Eastern Cape Province (Bisho);
  • Kwazulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg);
  • Free State (Bloemfontein);
  • North-West Province (Mafikeng);
  • Gauteng (Johannesburg);
  • Mpumalanga (Nelspruit);
  • Limpopo (Polokwane).