The 31-year-old second row, who is almost certain to face the Lions this summer, takes over from former Springbok Hennie le Roux for what will be his second term in the position.
"It is a great honour for me to be elected as chairman of SARPA as our association is an important stakeholder in South African rugby," said Matfield, who recently returned to South Africa after a brief spell with French club Toulon.
"It is also good to be back after I had to relinquish my previous position due to my overseas playing contract. Having served as President of SARPA before, it has given me a good understanding of my role and duties and therefore it is easy stepping into this position."
Sharks and Bok hooker Bismarck Du Plessis, another favourite to make the matchday 22 for the first Test against the Lions on June 20, has been elected vice-president of SARPA.
"With Victor's election it shows that the players have trust in and respect Victor what he stands for," added SARPA's chief executive officer Piet Heymans.
"I am looking forward to resuming my ties with Victor and by having Eddie Andrews, Victor and Bismarck as SARPA's top management team, it ensures that the players take responsibility and are directly involved with the affairs of the association."