Premier (South Africa)

In South Africa, a Premier is the head of government of one of South Africa's nine provinces. The Premier of a province plays for that province a role similar to that played by the President for the country as a whole.


Elections for the nine provincial legislatures are held every five years, simultaneously with the election of the National Assembly; the last such election occurred on 8 May 2019. At the first meeting of the provincial legislature after an election, the members choose the Premier from amongst themselves. The legislature can force the Premier to resign by a motion of no confidence. If the Premiership becomes vacant (for whatever reason) the legislature must choose a new Premier to serve out the period until the next election. One person cannot have served more than two five-year terms as Premier; however, when a Premier is chosen to fill a vacancy the time until the next election does not count as a term.[1]


In terms of the constitution, the executive authority of a province is vested in the Premier. The Premier appoints an Executive Council made up of five to ten members of the provincial legislature; they are known as Members of the Executive Council (MECs). The MECs are effectively ministers and the Executive Council a cabinet at the provincial level. The Premier has the power to hire and fire MECs at their own discretion.

The Premier and the Executive Council are responsible for implementing provincial legislation, along with any national legislation assigned to the provinces. They set provincial policy and manage the departments of the provincial government; their actions are subject to the national constitution and the provincial constitution (if there is one).

In order for an act of the provincial legislature to become law, the Premier must sign it. If the Premier believes that the act is unconstitutional, it can be referred back to the legislature for reconsideration. If the Premier and the legislature cannot agree, the act must be referred to the Constitutional Court for a final decision.

The Premier is also ex officio a member of the National Council of Provinces, the upper house of Parliament, as one of the special delegates from his or her province.

List of current PremiersEdit

Premier Province Order Party Incumbency First mandate began Current mandate began
Oscar Mabuyane Eastern Cape 7th ANC 1 year, 153 days (22 May 2019) 2019 Election 2019 Election
Sisi Ntombela Free State 6th ANC 2 years, 209 days (27 March 2018) 2018 Designation 2019 Election
David Makhura Gauteng 6th ANC 6 years, 154 days (21 May 2014) 2014 Election 2019 Election
Sihle Zikalala KwaZulu-Natal 8th ANC 1 year, 148 days (27 May 2019) 2019 Election 2019 Election
Stanley Mathabatha Limpopo 5th ANC 7 years, 96 days (18 July 2013) 2013 Designation 2019 Election
Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane Mpumalanga 5th ANC 2 years, 216 days (20 March 2018) 2018 Designation 2019 Election
Job Mokgoro North West 6th ANC 2 years, 122 days (22 June 2018) 2018 Designation 2019 Election
Zamani Saul Northern Cape 5th ANC 1 year, 153 days (22 May 2019) 2019 Election 2019 Election
Alan Winde Western Cape 8th DA 1 year, 153 days (22 May 2019) 2019 Election 2019 Election


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