14 June 2016
Much like the way foreigners would consider Lagos the capital of Nigeria, many people generally consider Johannesburg the capital of South Africa.
In the real sense of it, South Africa has 3 major capitals and none of them is Johnannesburg. South Africa’s many capitals stems from its colonial history.
On May 31, 1910, 4 previously independent British colonies (Cape Colony, Natal Colony, Transvaal Colony & Orange River Colony),were united to form a confederation called The Union of South Africa.
When time came to choose a capital for the Union, conflicts arose and as a compromise, each colony was given a capital: Cape Town, the legislative capital, would be in Cape Colony, Pretoria, the executive capital, would be in Transvaal Colony, Bloemfontein, the judicial capital, would be in the Orange River Colony.
In 1961, the Union came to an end and became a sovereign state under the name: Republic of South Africa.
Today, the capital divisions remain in order to maintain separation of power & there is no legally defined capital city.
According to the Constitution of South Africa (Chapter IV):
“THE SEAT OF PARLIAMENT IS CAPE TOWN, BUT AN ACT OF PARLIAMENT ENACTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 76(1) AND (5) MAY DETERMINE THAT THE SEAT OF PARLIAMENT IS ELSEWHERE”