State President H. E. Marais Viljoen
|5th State President of South Africa|
4 June 1979 – 4 September 1984
|Prime Minister||P. W. Botha|
|Vice President||Alwyn Schlebusch (1981-1984)|
|Preceded by||John Vorster|
|Succeeded by||Pieter Willem Botha|
21 August 1978 – 10 October 1978
|Prime Minister||B. J. Vorster
P. W. Botha
|Preceded by||Nicolaas Johannes Diederichs|
|Succeeded by||John Vorster|
|President of the Senate|
22 January 1976 – 19 June 1979
|Preceded by||Johannes de Klerk|
|Succeeded by||Jimmy Kruger|
|Born||(1915-12-02)2 December 1915
Robertson, Cape Province
Union of South Africa
|Died||4 January 2007(2007-01-04) (aged 91)
|Political party||National Party|
|Spouse(s)||Dorothea Maria Brink (1940-2005; her death)|
|Alma mater||University of Cape Town|
Marais Viljoen, DMS (2 December 1915 – 4 January 2007) was the last ceremonial State President of South Africa from 4 June 1979 until 3 September 1984. Viljoen became the last of the ceremonial presidents of South Africa when he was succeeded in 1984 by Prime Minister P. W. Botha, who combined the offices in an executive presidency.
Viljoen was the youngest of six children of Magdalena Debora "Lenie" (de Villiers) and Gabriel Francois Viljoen. He was married on 20 April 1940 to Dorothea Maria Brink (17 September 1917 – 5 October 2005), with whom he had one daughter Elizabeth Magdalena (Elna) Viljoen.
Viljoen was elected to the House of Assembly as MP for Alberton, near Johannesburg, as President of the Senate, and as acting State President from 21 August 1978 to 10 October 1978, after which B.J. Vorster was briefly elected to the position. Viljoen was seen as a relatively moderate member of the National Party that instituted apartheid.
After Vorster's resignation as a result of the Muldergate Scandal in 1979, Viljoen held the post of non-executive State President from 4 June 1979 until 3 September 1984. The State Presidency during this time was a ceremonial post, like that of the Governor-General, which it replaced in 1961.
Under the 1983 Constitution, the last of Apartheid, the position of the State President was changed to a more powerful executive position. Viljoen retired and was replaced by P. W. Botha, who until 1984 had been the executive Prime Minister. After Viljoen retired from public life he maintained an interest in politics thereafter. He remains the second-longest serving President of South Africa after Nelson Mandela, Jacobus Johannes Fouché and Thabo Mbeki.
- "Marais Viljoen". The Independent. London. 10 January 2007.
- "Former state president Marais Viljoen passes away". Mail & Guardian. 5 January 2007.
- http://www.mg.co.za/articlepage.aspx?area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/&articleid=294991 Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "Former state president Marais Viljoen passes away". Mail & Guardian. 5 January 2007. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-05.
- "Viljoen funeral shows SA 'moving forward'". Business Day. 15 January 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-05.