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Political system of south africa

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Political system of south africa

  1. 1. South African history has been dominated by the interaction and conflict of several diverse ethnic groups. The aboriginal Khoisan people have lived in the region for millennia. Most of the population, however, trace their history to immigration since.
  2. 2. Although the Portuguese basked in the nautical achievement of successfully navigating the cape, they showed little interest in colonization. The area's fierce weather and rocky shoreline posed a threat to their ships, and many of their attempts to trade with the local Khoikhoi ended in conflict. The Portuguese found the Mozambican coast more attractive, with appealing bays to use as way stations, for prawning, and as links to gold ore in the interior.
  3. 3. The Boers meanwhile persevered with their search for land and freedom, ultimately establishing themselves in various Boer Republics, e.g. the Transvaal or South African Republic and the Orange Free State. For a while it seemed that these republics would develop into stable states, despite having thinly spread populations of fiercely independent Boers, no industry, and minimal agriculture.
  4. 4. As the burghers, too, continued to expand into the rugged hinterlands of the north and east, many began to take up a semi- nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, in some ways not far removed from that of the Khoikhoi they displaced. In addition to its herds, a family might have a wagon, a tent, a Bible, and a few guns. As they became more settled, they would build a mud-walled cottage, frequently located, by choice, days of travel from the nearest European settlement.
  5. 5. The early 19th century saw a time of immense upheaval relating to the military expansion of the Zulu Kingdom. Sotho-speakers know this period as the difaqane ("forced migration"); while Zulu-speakers call it the mfecane ("crushing"). The full causes of the difaqane remain in dispute, although certain factors stand out. The rise of a unified Zulu kingdom had particular significance. In the early 19th century, Nguni tribes in KwaZulu- Natal began to shift from a loosely organised collection of kingdoms into a centralised, militaristic state. Shaka Zulu, son of the chief of the small Zulu clan, became the driving force behind this shift.
  6. 6. The Republic of South Africa is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The President of South Africa is both head of state and head of government; the President is elected by the National Assembly (the lower house of the South African Parliament) and must enjoy the confidence of the Assembly in order to remain in office. South Africans also elect provincial legislatures which govern in respect of each of the country's nine provinces.
  7. 7. South Africa is a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, wherein the President of South Africa, elected by parliament, is the head of government, and of a multi- party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the
  8. 8. Following the 1994 elections, South Africa was governed under an interim constitution. This constitution required the Constituent Assembly (CA) to draft and approve a permanent constitution by 9 May 1996. The Government of National Unity (GNU) established under the interim constitution ostensibly remained in effect until the 1999 national elections.
  9. 9. General elections are held every 5 years. The first fully multi-racial democratic election was held in 1994, the second in 1999, the third in 2004, and the most recent in 2009. Until 2008, elected officials were allowed to change political party, while retaining their seats, during set windows which occurred twice each electoral term, due to controversial floor crossing legislative amendments made in 2002. The last two floor crossing windows were in 2005 and 2007
  10. 10. The post-apartheid Government of South Africa have made remarkable progress in consolidating the nation's peaceful transition to democracy. Programs to improve the delivery of essential social services to the majority of the population are underway. Access to better opportunities in education and business is becoming more widespread. Nevertheless, transforming South Africa's society to remove the legacy of apartheid will be a long-term process requiring the sustained commitment of the leaders and people of the nation's disparate groups
  11. 11. Mangosuthu Buthelezi was chief minister of his Kwa-Zulu homeland from 1976 until 1994. In post-apartheid South Africa he has served as President of the Inkatha Freedom Party. He was a Minister in President's Mandela cabinet. He also acted as President of the country when President Nelson Mandela was out of the country. Bantubonke Holomisa, who was a general in the homeland of Transkei from 1987, has served as the president of the United Democratic Movement since 1997. Today he is a Member of Parliament. General Constand Viljoen an Afrikaner who served as chief of the South African Defence Force sent 1500 of his militiamen to protect Lucas Mangope and to contest the termination of Bophuthatswana as a homeland in 1994. He founded the Freedom Front in 1994. He was also a Member of Parliament.
  12. 12. The new constitution's bill of rights provides extensive guarantees, including equality before the law and prohibitions against discrimination; the right to life, privacy, property, and freedom and security of the person; prohibition against slavery and forced labor; and freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and association. The legal rights of criminal suspects also are enumerated. The constitution provides for an independent and impartial judiciary, and, in practice, these provisions are respected. Citizens' entitlements to a safe environment, housing, education, and health care are included in the bill of rights, and are known as secondary constitutional rights. In 2003 the constitutional secondary rights were used by the HIV/AIDS activist group the Treatment Action Campaign as a means of forcing the government to change its health policy.

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