Presidents of South Africa


Nelson Mandela, the inspiration of a Nation

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
1918 – 2013

Madiba, the tall man, the great leader and noble spirit passed away at 20:50 on 5 December 2013. He will always be an international legend – remembered for his leadership, his kindness, friendliness and forgiveness. His lifestyle speaks louder than many words.

A list of Presidents of South Africa, starting from when South Africa became a Republic in 1961, until the present post-apartheid government lead by the majority African National Congress (ANC).  Prior to 1961 South Africa was a Union state of the Commonwealth of the United Kingdom, and headed by Prime Ministers.

Ceremonial Presidents of South Africa (1961 – 1984):

Prior to the establishment of a Republic the ceremonial heads of government in die old Union of South Africa were Governors-General.

Charles Robberts (Blackie) Swart 31 May 1961 – 31 May 1967

Theophilus Ebenhaezer (Eben) Dönges (Elected, but never inaugurated due to ill-health) 31 May 1967 – 1 June 1967

Jozua Francois Naude (acting) 1 June 1967 – 10 April 1968

Jacobus Johannes (Jim) Fouché  10 April 1968 – 9 April 1975

Johannes de Klerk  9 – 19 April 1975

Nicolaas Johannes (Nic) Diederichs  19 April 1975 – 21 August 1978 (Died in office)

Marais Viljoen (acting)  21 August – 10 October 1978

Balthazar Johannes (John) Vorster  10 October 1978 – 4 June 1979 (Resigned)

Marais Viljoen 4 – 19 June 1979 (Acting)

Marais Viljoen  20 June 1979 – 2 September 1984

Executive Presidents of South Africa:

Pieter Willem (PW) Botha  3 September 1984 – 15 August 1989 (Resigned)

Chris Heunis  19 January – 15 March 1989

Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk  15 August 1989 –  9 May 1994

Post-Apartheid Presidents of South Africa:

Names of the Presidents with executive powers who were elected in the new democracy in South Africa after 1994.  This was accomplished after the abolishment of apartheid in 1992 by the then ruling National Party and the unbanning of “Black” political movements such as the ANC, PAC, SACP and others.  Since the 1994, the rulling African National Congress has ruled with roughly a 2/3 majority vote.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela  10 May 1994 – 16 June 1999

President Thabo MbekiThabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki  16 June 1999 – 24 September 2008 (Recalled from office)

President Kgalema MotlantePetrus Kgalema Mothlanthe  25 September 2008 – 9 May 2009

President Jacob ZumaJacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma   9 May 2008 -