oa Constitutional Court Review - Confusing grace with amnesia : reviewing acts of the head of state

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2073-6215



In terms of section 83 of the South African Constitution the President is both head of state and head of the national executive. Section 85 vests the executive authority of the Republic in the President, who exercises it 'together with other members of the Cabinet'. In terms of section 86 the President is elected by the majority in the National Assembly, meaning in practice that the leader of the majority party becomes President. Section 91(2) provides that the President appoints the Deputy President and Ministers and assigns their powers and functions, and may dismiss them'. In law there are therefore no limitations on the leader of the majority party regarding the selection, dispatch and control of members of Cabinet. Limitations on the President that may exist in this regard therefore depend almost wholly upon the political culture of the governing party. As long as a president remains in command of the majority party, he or she may require Cabinet and Parliament to do his or her bidding, albeit - thankfully - within the bounds of the Constitution.

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