State President of South Africa

State President of South Africa

State President, or "Staatspresident" in Afrikaans, was South Africa's head of state from 1961 to 1994. The office was established when the country became a republic in 1961, and Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be head of state. The position of Governor-General of the Union of South Africa was accordingly abolished.

Ceremonial post

The Republic of South Africa was proclaimed on May 31 1961. Charles Robberts Swart, the last Governor-General, was sworn in as the first State President. Like Paul Kruger, and other presidents of Boer republics, the State President wore a sash with the Republic's coat of arms, but performed mainly ceremonial duties. The ruling National Party decided against having an executive presidency, instead adopting a minimalist approach, as a conciliatory gesture to English-speaking whites who were opposed to a republic. Like Governors-General before them, State Presidents were retired National Party ministers, and consequently, white, Afrikaner, and male.

Executive post

Following constitutional reforms, in 1984, the office of State President became an executive post, as in the United States, and the office of Prime Minister of South Africa was abolished. P. W. Botha became the new State President, until his resignation in 1989, when he was replaced by F. W. de Klerk, who oversaw the transition to majority rule in 1994.

End of white minority rule

Under South Africa's first non-racial Constitution, adopted in 1994, the head of state (and of government) was known simply as the President. Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress, was sworn in as President on May 11, 1994.

List of State Presidents

*Charles Robberts Swart 1961-1967
*T.E. Donges 1967 (Elected, but never inaugurated due to ill-health.)
*Jozua François Naudé (acting) 1967-1968
*Jacobus Johannes Fouché 1968-1975
*Nicolaas Johannes Diederichs 1975-1978
*Marais Viljoen (acting) 1978
* Balthazar Johannes Vorster 1978-1979
*Marais Viljoen 1979-1984

*Pieter Willem Botha 1984-1989
*Frederik Willem de Klerk 1989-1994

ee also

* Governor-General of the Union of South Africa
* President of South Africa
* List of Prime Ministers of South Africa
* Vice State President of South Africa

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