01.05.01. Background | South Africa

01.05.01. Background | South Africa

12 Aug 2022

South Africa today

Today, South Africa is a democratic country that is governed by a Constitution and an independent judiciary system (South African Government, 2018c). It has three levels of government (national, provincial, and local), for which each has its own legislative – and executive authority. To date, key political issues in South Africa that negatively influence local and foreign investors include Land reform, State corruption (e.g., state capture inquiry involving now former president Jacob Zuma), widespread unemployment, the economic crisis as well as provincial water and national energy (electricity) crises involving Eskom (country’s power supplier) and a severe drought.

The three tiers of Government are described below (South African Government, 2018c):

  1. Executive authority: comprises of a National Cabinet and is constituted by the President, Deputy President and Ministers;
  2. Legislative authority: comprises of a National Parliament and is constituted by two bodies, i.e., the National Assembly (350-400 members) and the National Council of Provinces (90 delegates);
  3. Judicial authority: judges are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission and the authority itself is made up by the Courts and includes the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, High Courts and Magistrates’ Courts.

The people of South Africa democratically elect a ruling party every five years, whereby general elections elect a new National Assembly and provincial legislatures. The last general elections were held on 8 May 2019.


South African Government. (2018c). Structure and functions of the South African Government | South African Government. Available from: https://www.gov.za/about-government/government-system/structure-and-functions-south-african-government