Welcome to Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature
Mandates of the Legislature
The Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature is the arm of the State that has been mandated by the Constitution to make laws for the Province. It derives its mandate from Section 104 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996. All laws passed must be in line with and not contravene the Constitution of the country.
The Legislature is a vital and essential institution for democracy since it is where the people of the Province make their voices heard in the Law Making Process. This happens through the Public Hearing processes where the Bill gets outlined and communities are given a chance to input on the Bills to make it more suitable to them without contravening the Constitution.
The Legislature has three (3) mandates as per the Constitution of South Africa and those mandates are:
- Law Making
- Public participation and involvement
The Legislature as a Law making institution in the Province, may consider, amend, reject or approve a Bill. This is mostly done in consultation with the public through Public Hearing Process. The Legislature provides effective and efﬁcient mechanisms to oversee the executive.
Who constitutes the Legislature?
The Institution makes and implements strategies that facilitates the Oversight function over the government departments and other public entities in the province to be accountable to the public through the Legislature.
The Legislature also facilitates the public involvement in all its processes. This is the mandate that ensures the realisation of the fact that people are involved on decision making in this country and that their rights are not contravened.
The Legislature ensures that the public is educated to partake on speciﬁcally legislative processes and that they understand their role in exercising their rights.
The Legislature is constituted by the democratically elected members of different political parties. The party that obtains majority votes in the elections would obviously have larger representation in the house.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) knows how many votes constitute a seat, they inform the political parties in advance and share the formula to be employed in the process. The process is transparent to the political parties and the public.
It is that process that informs exactly how many seats goes to which party in the particular province.
In Mpumalanga, the Legislature has representation from four (4) political parties as follows;
Who constitutionally appoints the Premier of the Province?
- African National Congress (ANC) = 22 (Majority Party)
- Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) = 4 (Opposition Party)
- Democratic Alliance (DA) = 3 (Minority Party)
- Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) = 1 (Minority Party)
At the ﬁrst sitting of the Legislature after its election, and whenever necessary to ﬁll a vacancy, a provincial legislature elects a woman or a man from among its members to be the Premier of the Province. A Judge designated by the Chief Justice must preside over the election of the Premier.
The Premier of the Province is the leader of the Executive Council. There are ten (10) Members of Executive Council (MECs). This is according to the government departments that are in the Province. All the Members of the Executive Council currently are from the majority parties.
What Is The Function Of Oversight?
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996, chapter 6, section 114 (2b), stipulates that provincial legislatures are to maintain oversight over the Provincial Executive Authority and any provincial organ of state.
The Executive Authority is constitutionally accountable to the Legislature, this means that government departments are obliged to account on the services that they give to the people of the province.
For example the Department of Health has a mandate to provide health care services to the people of the province.
The department gets an allocation of funds on an annual basis to perform its duties. The Legislature then from time to time, as prescribed by the Constitution check and balance the expenditure of the department to ensure that
the money allocated to the department is spent accordingly. This is known as playing oversight over the Executive Authority.
The role played the Legislature is called Oversight.
The Provincial Legislature does its oversight function through various ways which are as follows:
Public Participation and Involvement
- Committee meetings
- Site visits
- Public Hearings
- Sectoral Parliaments
The question may arise what is the role of the civil society in this process? How can members of the public participate in this process? The role of civil society in assisting the Legislature to perform its function of ensuring that government delivers proper services by means of attending committee meetings and engage in robust debates organized by the Legislature such as Sectoral Parliaments. Further civil society can make use of the mechanism known as petitioning.
This process allows for any member of the public to lodge any complaint about services that are not correctly rendered by government to them.
It is the responsibility of the civil society to make sure that they are involved in these processes so as to assist in ensuring an effective oversight over the state organs.
In this manner both the Legislature and civil society are in partnership in ensuring a better life for all.
Section 118 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108) mandates legislatures to facilitate public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the Legislature/ Parliament and its committees.
Public Participation and Public Involvement alongside with Law-making and Oversight, are what the Legislature is existing for. This is the core mandate.
The sectoral parliaments are key political outreach programmes which focus on issues facing each sector of our communities. Through the outreach programmes, the Legislature is able to intensify its oversight on a number of services that are supposed to be given to a particular sector.
Sectoral parliaments also provide a platform for our public to be educated on issues central to that sector. Currently the Legislature hosts Workers’ Parliament, Youth Parliament, Children’s Parliament, Senior Citizens’ Parliament and Women’s Parliament.
Who may attend Sectoral Parliaments?
All categories of civil society including the sector in question are welcome to attend a sectoral parliament.
As citizens we are inter-related in life. One sector’s challenges may be caused by the other e.g. those with disabilities may be abused by men, women or youth while children’s right may be abused by youth, men or women. Your active participation in sectoral parliaments in the long term will result in:
- An informed society that is wisely shaping our democracy.
- Active citizens that takes charge of their future, and
- A focused community that seeks solutions through debates and discussions.