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South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities ...

South Africa
is divided into nine provinces. On the eve of the
1994 general election
1994 general election
, South Africa's former homelands, also known as
Bantustan A Bantustan (also known as Bantu peoples, Bantu homeland, Black people, black homeland, Khoisan, black state or simply homeland; ) was a territory that the National Party (South Africa), National Party administration of South Africa set aside ...
s, were reintegrated, and the four existing provinces were divided into nine. The twelfth, thirteenth and sixteenth amendments to the
Constitution of South Africa The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 millio ...
changed the borders of seven of the provinces.


History

The
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) was the historical predecessor to the present-day South Africa, Republic of South Africa. It came into existence on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the British ...
was established in 1910 by combining four British colonies: the
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British Empire, British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Corporate colony that b ...
, the
Natal Colony The Colony of Natal was a British colony in south-eastern Africa. It was proclaimed a British colony on 4 May 1843 after the British government had annexed the Boer Boers () ( af , Boere) refers to the descendants of the proto-Afrikaans ...
, the
Transvaal Colony The Transvaal Colony () was the name used to refer to the Transvaal region during the period of direct British rule and military occupation between the end of the Second Boer War The Second Boer War (11 October 189931 May 1902), also know ...
and the
Orange River Colony The Orange River Colony was the British colony Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign col ...
(the latter two were, before the
Second Boer War The Second Boer War ( af, Tweede Vryheidsoorlog, lit. "Second Freedom War", 11 October 189931 May 1902), also known as the Boer War, the Anglo–Boer War, or the South African War, was a conflict fought between the British Empire The Br ...
, independent republics known as the
South African Republic The South African Republic ( nl, Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek; the ZAR; also known as the Transvaal Republic, af, Suid-Afrikaanse Republiek) was an independent republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the ...
and the
Orange Free State The Orange Free State ( nl, Oranje Vrijstaat, af, Oranje-Vrystaat, abbreviated as OVS) was an independent Boer Boers () ( af , Boere) refers to the descendants of the proto-Afrikaans-speaking colonists of the eastern Cape frontier in ...
). These colonies became the four original provinces of the Union:
Cape Province The Province of the Cape of Good Hope ( af, Provinsie Kaap die Goeie Hoop), commonly referred to as the Cape Province ( af, Kaapprovinsie) and colloquially as The Cape ( af, Die Kaap), was a Provinces of South Africa, province in the Union of S ...
,
Transvaal Province The Province of the Transvaal ( af, Provinsie Transvaal), commonly referred to as the Transvaal (; ), was a province of South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With ...
,
Natal Province The Province of Natal ( af, Natalprovinsie), commonly called Natal, was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region ...
and
Orange Free State Province The Province of the Orange Free State ( af, Provinsie Oranje-Vrystaat), commonly referred to as the Orange Free State ( af, Oranje-Vrystaat), ''Free State'' ( af, Vrystaat) or by its abbreviation OFS, was one of the four provinces of South Africa f ...
. Segregation of the
black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete absorption of visible light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by t ...
population started as early as 1913, with ownership of land by the black majority being restricted to certain areas totalling about 13% of the country. From the late 1950s, these areas were gradually consolidated into "
homeland A homeland is the concept of the place where a cultural, national, or racial identity had formed. The definition can also mean simply one's country of birth. When used as a proper noun, the Homeland, as well as its equivalents in other languag ...
s", also called "
bantustan A Bantustan (also known as Bantu peoples, Bantu homeland, Black people, black homeland, Khoisan, black state or simply homeland; ) was a territory that the National Party (South Africa), National Party administration of South Africa set aside ...
s". Four of these homelands were established as quasi-independent nation states of the black population during the
apartheid Apartheid (: ; , segregation; lit. "aparthood") was a system of institutionalised that existed in and (now ) from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid was characterised by an authoritarian political culture based on ' (or ), wh ...

apartheid
era. In 1976, the homeland of
Transkei Transkei (, meaning ''the area beyond he riverKei''), officially the Republic of Transkei ( xh, iRiphabliki yeTranskei), was an list of historical unrecognized states and dependencies, unrecognised state in the southeastern region of South Af ...
was the first to accept
independence upright=1.0, Pedro surrounded by a crowd in Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822.">Independence of Brazil">Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822. Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or state State may ref ...

independence
from South Africa, and although this independence was never acknowledged by any other country, three other homelands
Bophuthatswana Bophuthatswana (, meaning "gathering of the Tswana people"), officially the Republic of Bophuthatswana ( tn, Riphaboliki ya Bophuthatswana; af, Republiek van Bophuthatswana), was a Bantustan A Bantustan (also known as Bantu peoples, Bantu ...
(1977),
Venda Venda () was a in northern South Africa, which is fairly close to the South African border with to the north, while to the south and east, it shared a long border with another black homeland, . It is now part of the province. Venda was foun ...

Venda
(1979) and
Ciskei Ciskei (, or ) was a nominally independent state—a Bantustan—located in the southeast of South Africa. It covered an area of , almost entirely surrounded by what was then the Cape Province, and possessed a small coastline along the shore of ...
(1981) followed suit. On 27 April 1994, the date of the first non-racial elections and of the adoption of the
Interim ConstitutionA provisional constitution, interim constitution or transitional constitution is a constitution intended to serve during a transitional period until a permanent constitution is adopted. The following countries currently have, or have had in the past, ...
, all of these provinces and homelands were dissolved, and nine new provinces were established. The boundaries of these provinces were established in 1993 by a ''Commission on the Demarcation/Delimitation of Regions'' created by
CODESA The History of South Africa in the apartheid era, apartheid system in South Africa was ended through a series of negotiations between 1990 and 1993 and through unilateral steps by the F.W. de Klerk, de Klerk government. These negotiations took pla ...
, and were broadly based on ''planning regions'' demarcated by the
Development Bank of Southern Africa The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is a development finance institution wholly owned by the Government of South Africa that seeks to "accelerate sustainable socio-economic development and improve the quality of life of the people of th ...
in the 1980s,https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/37351010.pdf and amalgamated from existing magisterial districts, with some concessions to political parties that wished to consolidate their power bases, by transferring districts between the proposed provinces. The definitions of the new provinces in terms of magisterial districts were found in Schedule 1 of the
Interim ConstitutionA provisional constitution, interim constitution or transitional constitution is a constitution intended to serve during a transitional period until a permanent constitution is adopted. The following countries currently have, or have had in the past, ...
.


Government

South Africa's provinces are governed, in different ways, on a national, provincial and local level. Nationally, there is the National Council of Provinces, one of the houses of Parliament. Then there is the provincial government and, below that, the administration of district and metropolitan municipalities.


National Council of Provinces

South Africa has two houses of parliament: the National Assembly, and the National Council of Provinces. The second exists to ensure that the interests of each province are protected in the laws passed by the National Assembly. Each one of South Africa's nine provinces sends 10 representatives to the National Council of Provinces. Six of these are permanent members of the council, and four are special delegates.


Provincial government

Each province is governed by a
unicameral legislature In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executiv ...
. The size of the legislature is proportional to population, ranging from 30 members in the
Northern Cape The Northern Cape ( af, Noord-Kaap; xh, eMntla-Koloni; tn, Kapa Bokone) is the largest and most sparsely populated Provinces of South Africa, province of South Africa. It was created in 1994 when the Cape Province was split up. Its capital is Ki ...
to 80 in
KwaZulu-Natal KwaZulu-Natal (, also referred to as KZN and known as "the garden province"; zu, iKwaZulu-Natali; xh, KwaZulu-Natala; af, KwaZoeloe-Natal) is a Provinces of South Africa, province of South Africa that was created in 1994 when the Zulu people, ...
. The legislatures are elected every five years by a system of
party-list proportional representation Party-list proportional representation is a subset of proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportion ...
; by convention, they are all elected on the same day, at the same time as the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliam ...
election. The provincial legislature elects, from amongst its members, a
Premier Premier is a title for the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other g ...
, who is the head of the executive. The Premier chooses an Executive Council consisting of between five and ten members of the legislature, which is the cabinet of the provincial government. The Members of the Executive Council (MECs) are the provincial equivalent of ministers. The powers of the provincial government are limited to specific topics listed in the national constitution. On some of these topicsfor example, agriculture, education, health and public housingthe province's powers are shared with the national government, which can establish uniform standards and frameworks for the provincial governments to follow; on other topics the provincial government has exclusive power.'
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the human rights, rights and Duty, duties of its citizens, and defines the struct ...
'', "Chapter 6: Provinces". Sections 104 and 146.
The provinces do not have their own court systems, as the administration of justice is the responsibility of the national government.


List

Footnotes:


Provincial acronyms


Former administrative divisions

Footnotes: :† States for which the homeland was quasi-independent.


See also

*
Elections in South Africa Elections in South Africa are held for the National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State ...
*
List of municipalities in South Africa This is a list of municipalities of South Africa. The largest metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated core city, urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories under the same ad ...
* Members of the Executive Council (MEC) *
Prince Edward Islands The Prince Edward Islands are two small islands in the that are part of . The islands are named Marion Island (named after ) and Prince Edward Island (named after , 1767–1820). The islands in the group have been declared Special Nature ...

Prince Edward Islands
* Proposals for South Africa to annex Lesotho * Provincial governments of South Africa *
Provincial legislature (South Africa) In South Africa, a provincial legislature is the legislative branch of the government of a Provinces of South Africa, province.''s:Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996/Chapter 6, Chapter 6: Provinces'', Constitution of South Africa, Co ...
*
Telephone numbers in South Africa South Africa switched to a Telephone numbering plan#Closed dialing plans, closed numbering system effective 16 January 2007. At that time, it became mandatory to dial the full 10-digit telephone number, including the zero in the three-digit ar ...
* Vehicle registration plates of South Africa *
Walvis Bay Walvis Bay ( en, lit. Whale Bay; af, Walvisbaai; ger, Walfischbucht or Walfischbai) is a city in Namibia and the name of the bay on which it lies. It is the List of cities in Namibia, second largest city in Namibia and the largest coastal ci ...

Walvis Bay
* ISO 3166-2:ZA


References

{{Articles on first-level administrative divisions of African countries Subdivisions of South Africa Provinces of South Africa 1 Provinces, South Africa South Africa geography-related lists