The president is elected by the majority party in the National Assembly (one of the two houses of parliament) to a five-year term, renewable once. The president appoints a deputy president and a cabinet of ministers from members of the National Assembly.
The parliament consists of two houses: the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. The National Assembly has 400 members, popularly elected to five-year terms under a system of proportional representation. The National Council of Provinces has 90 members, 10 from each province. These members, which are appointed by the provincial legislatures, also serve five-year terms.
South African courts are independent, subject only to the constitution and the law. The Constitutional Court, located in Johannesburg, rules on constitutional matters. It is composed of a president and ten justices, six of whom are appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission (an advisory body for national and provincial judicial matters). The other four justices are appointed by the president from among the judges of the Supreme Court in consultation with the chief justice.
The Supreme Court of Appeal, situated in Bloemfontein, is the highest court in all but constitutional matters.It is composed of a chief justice and a number of judges of appeal. Below the Supreme Court of Appeals are High Courts and Magistrates’ Courts. Black South Africans may choose to bring civil claims based on indigenous law and custom to a local chief’s court, with subsequent right of appeal in one of the Magistrate’s Courts.
South Africa is divided into nine provinces. These provinces are Gauteng, Limpopo Province (formerly Northern Province), Mpumalanga, North-West Province, Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.
Until 1994 South Africa was divided into four provinces (Cape Province, Natal, Orange Free State, and Transvaal) and ten bantustans, including four that had been declared independent (Transkei, Venda, Bophuthatswana, and Ciskei). The bantustans were dissolved and reincorporated into South Africa when the interim constitution took effect in 1994.
Provincial assemblies are elected by proportional representation and vary in size from 30 to 80 members, according to population. Each province has a premier, elected by the provincial assembly, who presides over an executive council of no more than 10 members. Matters of exclusive provincial control under the constitution include various planning, cultural, sporting, and recreational matters.
A much longer list of more important business, including agriculture, education, housing, police (in part), tourism, regional planning, urban and rural development, and welfare services, are areas of joint national and provincial control. At the local level, the country is divided into metropolitan municipalities, district municipalities, and local municipalities, each governed by an elected municipal council. "South Africa" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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