The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) is the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa under the (post-apartheid) constitution which came into full effect in 1997. It replaced the former Senate, but is very similar to that body, and to many other upper houses of legislatures throughout the world, in that its purpose is to represent the governments of the provinces, rather than directly representing the people.
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The NCOP comprises 90 provincial delegates, 10 delegates for each of the nine provinces regardless of the population of the province. This means that each province is equally represented in the NCOP.
A provincial delegation contains of six permanent delegates and four special delegates. The party representation in the delegation must proportionally reflect the party representation in the provincial legislature, according to a formula included in the Constitution.
The permanent delegates are selected by the nine provincial legislatures. The four special delegates contain of the Premier of the province and three other special delegates allocated from members of the provincial legislature. They are nominated by each province from Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) and are contingent on the subject matter being considered by the NCOP. The Premier of a province is the head of the province’s delegation in the NCOP, but he or she can choose any other delegate to be in charge of the delegation in his or her absence.
Organised local government is also represented in the NCOP through the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). SALGA is permitted to 10 delegates who may partake in the debates and other activities of the NCOP, but may not vote.
After the elections of 7 May 2014, the new provincial legislatures met on 21 May to elect NCOP delegations. The delegations elected are described in the following table.
|African National Congress||Permanent||4||4||3||4||4||4||4||4||2||33||60|
|Economic Freedom Fighters||Permanent||1||1||1||1||1||1||6||7|
|Inkatha Freedom Party||Permanent||1||1|
|National Freedom Party||Special||1||1|
|United Democratic Movement||Permanent||1||1|
The NCOP may consider, amend, propose amendments to, or reject legislation. It must consider all national bills, and also has the power to initiate legislation in the functional areas where Parliament and the provincial legislatures have concurrent legislative power.
The NCOP has four decision-making mechanisms depending on the type of bill:
The following people have served as Chairperson of the NCOP:
|Term of Office||Political Party|
|6 February 1997||21 June 1999||African National Congress|
|21 June 1999||4 May 2004||African National Congress|
|4 May 2004||21 November 2004
(Died in office)
|African National Congress|
|4||Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu
|17 January 2005
21 November 2004
|22 May 2014||African National Congress|
|22 May 2014||Incumbent||African National Congress|