In terms of the Constitution of South Africa which was promulgated in 1996, the country is divided into nine provinces each with its own independent Legislature, Premier and executive council. The latter was non existent prior to 1994.

The South African Legislative system, including Parliament and the nine Provincial Legislatures has been in a process of development since 1994. Prior to this, Legislatures existed only at national level. The South African Parliament consists of two Houses, namely the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (the NCOP). These two Houses together form the National Parliament and participate in the legislative process as set out in the Constitution.

The National Assembly consists of 400 members who are elected through a system of proportional representation and is presided over by a Speaker who is assisted by a Deputy Speaker. The National Assembly represents the people and has to ensure democratic governance as required by the Constitution. The NCOP consists of 90 members and represents provincial interests. Delegations from each province consist of 10 representatives. This unique system of co-operative governance requires extensive consultation, co-operation and communication between the NCOP and the nine Provincial Legislatures. The legislative authority of the nine provinces1 is vested in the Provincial Legislature of each province. The Provincial Legislatures derive their mandate from Chapter 6 of the Constitution.


1. Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape