Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi will from Sunday once again be Acting President of South Africa.
A spokesperson for his office said on Saturday it would be "a least the 13th or 14th time" he had occupied this high post.
Buthelezi will be acting president until Wednesday while both President Thabo Mbeki and Deputy President Jacob Zuma are out of the country.
Mbeki is from Sunday attending an international conference at the Victoria falls, Zimbabwe, with other heads of government on a wide range of issues affecting Southern Africa.
It is the third Southern African International Dialogue gathering, with the previous one - in Botswana in 1997 - having been attended by former president Nelson Mandela, a spokesperson for Mbeki's office said on Saturday.
Zuma is attending a meeting of the south Africa/Nigeria Bi-National Commission in Nigeria. - Sapa