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Politics in South Africa

Where to even start! South Africa has one of the most confusing political systems in the world. Ask some over dinner tonight - "what's the capital city of South Africa?" No one gets the right answer.

The answer is Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative) and Pretoria (administrative). Yes, South Africa has three capitals cities. Told you it was confusing.

South Africa's political system has been marred with fascism, racism, and many other pejorative descriptions. Apartheid came into place in 1948 under the National Party and it was a means of racial segregation that separated blacks from whites, with the whites in power. The country experienced frequent uprisings and other social disturbances in response to the apartheid laws, which was eventually abolished in in 1992 (see above). Even though officially apartheid lasted 44 years, its foundations go back a lot longer, and it will take a generation before all wounds are healed.

South Africa's parliament has two branches - the National Council of Provinces (the upper house) has 90 members, while the National Assembly (the lower house) has 400 members. Elections for both chambers are held every five years.

13 parties are represented in the National Assembly of Parliament, with the African National Congress (ANC) securing 264 of the 400 National Assembly seats. The party also controls eight of the country’s nine provinces.

Since the abolition of apartheid in 1992 the ANC have dominated politics with 60-70% of the vote in every general election. To put this into context, the Conservative party in the UK managed to secure government with just 36% of the vote in the 2010 general election. The ANC are extremely popular...

Nelson Mandela became the first black president and the first democratically elected president when he came into power in 1994.

Jacob Zuma (he was that guy who made the really long speech at the World Cup) came to power in 2009 but South Africa still have a long way to go to completely iron out the creases that the apartheid left.