From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The President of South Africa is the head of state and head of government under South Africa's Constitution. From 1961 to 1994, the head of state was called the State President, or Staatspresident in Afrikaans.
The President is elected by members of the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, usually being the leader of the largest party, which has been the African National Congress since the first non-racial elections were held of April 27, 1994. The first President to be elected under the new Constitution was Nelson Mandela, who was succeeded by Thabo Mbeki in 1999.
Under the interim Constitution (valid from 1994 to 1996), there was a Government of National Unity, in which an MP from the largest opposition party was entitled to a position as Deputy President. Along with Mbeki, the last State President, F.W De Klerk also served as Deputy President, in his capacity as the leader of the National Party which was the second-largest party in the new Parliament. But De Klerk later resigned and went into opposition with his party. A voluntary coalition government continues to exist under the new constitution (adopted in 1996), although there have been no appointments of opposition politicians to the post of deputy president.