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The President is the Head of State and governs with a Cabinet comprising Ministers and Deputy Ministers who head the various national government departments.Each province is headed by a Premier and an Executive Council.Furthermore, Roman-Dutch Law did not always cater for the requirements of the modern society that developed during the 19 century, necessitating legislative innovation, which was often based on English acts and interpreted using relevant English precedent.The advocates and judges of the superior courts were usually trained in England and tended to rely on their English treatises.The colonial state retained exclusive jurisdiction over matters such as serious crime.Matters of customary law were heard by chiefs and headmen, with a right of appeal to the Native Appeal Court, staffed by magistrates.

Residents of the TBVC states, as well as those of other 'ethnic homelands' were not permitted to remain in 'white South Africa' without permission, unless they qualified to do so in terms of Act 67 of 1952 or other statutory exemptions (the 'pass laws').However, the national legislature retains its legislative power in these areas, and may override provincial legislation in the event of a conflict.Exclusive provincial legislative competence is reserved for less important matters such as abattoirs and liquor licenses.The South African legal system is widely known as one that is basically premised on Roman-Dutch law. In the mid-seventeenth century, Dutch settlers began to occupy the part of South Africa now known as the Western Cape.In 1806, English forces defeated the Dutch settlers and took the Cape of Good Hope as a British possession.

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