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The Parliament of South Africa is
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
's legislature; under the present
Constitution of South Africa The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the Governmen ...
, the bicameral Parliament comprises a
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repres ...
and a
National Council of Provinces 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 ...
. The current twenty-seventh Parliament was first convened on 22 May 2019. From 1910 to 1994, members of Parliament were elected chiefly by the South African white minority. The first elections with universal suffrage were held in
1994 The year 1994 was designated as the "International Year of the Family" and the "International Year of Sport and the Olympic Ideal" by the United Nations. Events January * January 1 - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is esta ...
.


History


Before 1910

The predecessor of the Parliament of South Africa, before the 1910
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) is the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the Cape Colony, the Natal Colon ...
, was the bicameral
Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope The Parliament of the Cape of Good Hope functioned as the legislature of the Cape Colony, from its founding in 1853, until the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, when it was dissolved and the Parliament of South Africa was establishe ...
. This was composed of the House of Assembly (the lower house) and the Legislative Council (the upper house). It dated back to the beginnings of Cape independence in 1853 and was elected according to the multi-racial
Cape Qualified Franchise The Cape Qualified Franchise was the system of non-racial franchise that was adhered to in the Cape Colony, and in the Cape Province in the early years of the Union of South Africa. Qualifications for the right to vote at parliamentary elections w ...
system, whereby suffrage qualifications were applied equally to all males, regardless of race. The buildings of the Cape Parliament went on to house the Parliament of South Africa, after union.


1910 to 1961

When the
Union of South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) is the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the Cape Colony, the Natal Colon ...
was established in 1910,South Africa Act 1909 the Parliament was
bicameral Bicameralism is the practice of having a legislature divided into two separate assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicameral legislature. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and vote as a si ...
and consisted of the King or the
Queen Queen may refer to: Monarchy * Queen regnant, a female monarch of a Kingdom ** List of queens regnant * Queen consort, the wife of a reigning king * Queen dowager, the widow of a king * Queen mother, a queen dowager who is the mother of a reignin ...

Queen
, the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper hou ...
, and the
House of Assembly House of Assembly is a name given to the legislature or lower house of a bicameral parliament. In some countries this may be at a subnational level. Historically, in British Crown colonies as the colony gained more internal responsible government ...
(known in
Afrikaans Alaric speaking Afrikaans. Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa, Namibia and, to a lesser extent, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It evolved from the Dutch vernacular of Holland (Hollandic dialect) spoken by the Dut ...
as the ''Volksraad''). * The King (from 1952, the
Queen of South Africa From 1910 to 1961 the Union of South Africa was a self-governing country that shared a monarch with the United Kingdom, and other Dominions of the British Empire. The monarch's constitutional roles were mostly delegated to the Governor-General o ...
) was represented by the
Governor-General#REDIRECT Governor-general {{R from move ...
. * The Senate consisted of senators nominated by the four provinces, and by the Governor-General, initially for a period of ten years. The number of senators was changed from time to time. The Senate was chaired by a President of the Senate chosen by the senators from among themselves. * The House of Assembly consisted of members who were directly elected by the voters. Each MP represented an electoral district (constituency), and most of them were elected on the basis of their political party. The number of constituencies and parliamentary seats was increased from time to time, in line with increases in the population. The House was chaired by a Speaker chosen by the MPs from among themselves. * Only white men could be senators or MPs. * The franchise (right to vote) was originally granted to white men in all four provinces, to black men in the Cape Province and Natal, and to Coloured men in the Cape Province – in all cases, the minimum age was 21 years. The composition of Parliament was changed by constitutional amendments from time to time: * From 1930, white women had the vote, and the right to serve as senators and MPs, on the same basis as white men. * In 1934, Parliament was declared "the sovereign legislative power in and over the Union".Status of the Union Act 1934 * From 1937, black voters were separated from the other races – in the Senate they were represented by four elected senators (two for the Cape, one for Natal, one for the Orange Free State and Transvaal), and in the House of Assembly by three "native representative" MPs elected in separate black constituencies.Representation of Natives Act 1936 * From 1950, white voters in
South West Africa South West Africa ( af, Suidwes-Afrika; german: Südwestafrika; nl, Zuidwest-Afrika) was the name for modern-day Namibia when it was under South African administration, from 1915 to 1990. Previously the colony of German South West Africa from 188 ...
, which was under South African administration at that time, were represented by four senators and six MPs. * From 1957, Coloured voters were separated from the whites – in the Senate, they were represented by separate senators, and in the House of Assembly by MPs elected in separate Coloured constituencies.Separate Representation of Voters Act 1956 To pass this amendment in the face of strong opposition (and two Supreme Court rulings), prime minister
Johannes Strijdom Johannes Gerhardus Strijdom (also spelled Strydom; 14 July 1893 – 24 August 1958), also known as Hans Strijdom and nicknamed the "Lion of the North", was Prime Minister of South Africa from 30 November 1954 to 24 August 1958. He was an unco ...
had to enlarge the Senate and appoint enough pro-government senators to get the two-thirds majority he needed to force through the constitutional change.Senate Act 1955 * Representation of black voters was ended in 1960. * Voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1960. In a referendum held in 1960, a small majority of the white voters approved the conversion of the country from a Realm or Dominion of the British Commonwealth to a republic.


1961 to 1984

The Republic of South Africa was established in 1961. The only change made to the composition of the Parliament was the substitution of the
State President The State President of the Republic of South Africa ( af, Staatspresident) was the head of state of South Africa from 1961 to 1994. The office was established when the country became a republic in 1961, and Queen Elizabeth II ceased to be monarc ...
for the Queen.Republic of South Africa Constitution Act 1961 A few significant changes were made later: * Coloured representation was ended in 1968, leaving both the Senate and the House of Assembly representing white voters only. * South West Africa ceased to be represented in Parliament from 1977. * The Senate was abolished in 1981, changing Parliament to a
unicameral legislature In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliament'' or ''unicameral legislature'' is a legislature which consists of one chamber or ...
.


1984 to 1994

A new Constitution, introduced in 1984, re-enfranchised the Coloured population (women as well as men) and enfranchised the Indian population. It retained the existing House of Assembly for whites and established a House of Representatives to represent the Coloureds, and a House of Delegates for the Indians, making Parliament a tricameral legislature. Blacks continued to be excluded. * Each house consisted of members elected to represent constituencies, plus a few additional members elected by the MPs, and some nominated by the State President. * Each house legislated on "own affairs" exclusive to its own race group, and they legislated jointly on "general affairs" affecting all races.Republic of South Africa Constitution Act 1983 In practice, the House of Assembly, which had more MPs than the other two houses combined, continued to dominate the legislature. * Each house was chaired by a chairman elected by its members from among themselves. They were coordinated by a Speaker of Parliament, elected by the members of all three houses in a joint sitting. * The existing House of Assembly, elected in 1981, was deemed to have been re-elected in 1984, to coordinate its term of office with those of the two new houses. However, this was later overturned by the Supreme Court, and a separate election had to be held for the House of Assembly in 1987. The House elected in 1987 was then dissolved with the other houses in 1989. The black majority were still disfranchised, and the new system lacked legitimacy even among the Coloureds and Asians, many of whom boycotted elections. In a referendum held in 1992, 68.73% of (only white) voters approved the reform process that effectively ended Apartheid. In late 1993, one of the last pieces of legislation passed by the tricameral Parliament was the
Interim ConstitutionA provisional constitution, interim constitution or transitional constitution is a constitution intended to serve during a transitional period until a permanent constitution is adopted. The following countries currently have, or have had in the past, ...
, which took effect on 27 April 1994, the same day as the first non-racial elections.


Since 1994

A new
interim {{unreferenced, date=February 2017 An interim is a provisional or temporary intervening period of time. In projects, an interim report is often compiled to analyze how the project is proceeding, before its final completion. Interim analysis is impo ...
constitution, introduced in 1994 after four years of negotiation, finally introduced all-race democracy and enfranchised men and women of all races on equal terms, the minimum age remaining 18 years. Parliament was reconstituted to consist of a
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper hou ...
and a
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral legislature, the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or both houses of a bicameral legislature together. In the English language it generally means "an assembly composed of the repres ...
. * The Senate consisted of 90 senators, ten nominated by each of the nine provinces. It was chaired by a President of the Senate elected by the senators from among themselves. *The National Assembly consists of 400 members, elected by voters on a proportional representation/party list system. There are no electoral districts, and each party is allocated a number of seats proportionate to the percentage of the votes it receives across the country. It is chaired by a Speaker elected by the MPs from among themselves. * In 1997, the current
Constitution of South Africa The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the Governmen ...
came into force, in which the Senate was replaced by a 90-member
National Council of Provinces 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 ...
(NCOP), made up of a 10-member delegation from each province (six delegates elected by the provincial legislature, the
Premier Premier is a title for the head of government in some countries, states and sub-national governments. A second in command to a premier is designated as a vice-premier or deputy premier. Examples by country The word comes from french "Premier mi ...
and three other members of the provincial legislature). The NCOP is chaired by a Chairperson elected by the members from among themselves. The parliamentary system uses proportional representation, with voters voting for political parties rather than for candidates. Proportional representation allows for smaller parties to have a chance of acquiring seats in parliament, although these parties often combine in order to have a stronger voice within the political system, especially against the ANC. The Independent Electoral Commission is charged with keeping elections fair, regular, and equal. Parties submit closed lists of candidates to the IEC, and the IEC fills the seats allotted to individual parties using the candidate lists after election results come in. The electoral system has seen little corruption since 1994. Higher Education Minister
Naledi Pandor Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor (née Matthews; born 7 December 1953) is a South African politician, academic, educationist and lecturer serving as the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation since 2019. She has served as a Member of Pa ...
has noted that during her term (starting 1994) a decline in political respectability had occurred in parliament, due to its members not engaging with one another in a courteous manner. She remarked that she felt undignified to be an observer of the crude behaviour, which also inhibited the conduct of successful politics.


Major political parties in parliament

African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
: The ANC was founded in 1912, but were banned by State President
Charles Robberts Swart Charles Robberts Swart (5 December 1894 – 16 July 1982), nicknamed ''Blackie'' was a South African politician who served as the last Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 1959 to 1961 and the first State President of the Republic ...
in 1960, remaining so until the ban was lifted thirty years later by President
F. W. De Klerk Frederik Willem de Klerk (, ; born 18 March 1936) is a South African retired politician, who served as State President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994 and as Deputy President from 1994 to 1996. As South Africa's last head of state from the er ...
. The ANC became the leading political party in South Africa after the first multi-racial election in 1994. The party's main platform rests on working towards racial equality and eradicating the socio-economic classes which are often based on race. The ANC has been considered a party for native South Africans, especially before 2009 when party leader
Jacob Zuma Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (; born 12 April 1942) is a South African politician who served as the fourth democratically elected President of South Africa from the 2009 general election until his resignation on 14 February 2018. Zuma is also refer ...

Jacob Zuma
faced multiple accusations regarding corruption, particularly using public funds for his own purposes. The economic difficulties in South Africa, as well as police brutality have both been blamed on the ANC. Currently, the ANC holds 230 seats in parliament. Support for the ANC went down between the 2014 and the 2019 general elections, with violent protests erupting all over the country in response to the allegations of corruption within the ANC and the non-delivery of municipal services.
Democratic AllianceDemocratic Alliance may refer to: Current political parties *Democratic Alliance (South Africa) *DEMOS (Montenegro) *Democratic Alliance (Hong Kong) *Democratic Alliance (Ukraine) *Democratic Alliance List *Democratic Alliance Party (Haiti) *Singap ...
: The DA was formed when the New National Party, the successor to the apartheid-era National Party, merged with the Democratic Party and the Federal Alliance in 2000 to form an alliance. The DA is an opposition party and has been traditionally supported by South Africa's minority communities (White, Coloured and Indian). In more recent years, the party has attempted to win votes from Black South Africans and as a result, Black support for the DA has risen over the past several years, going from 1% to 6%. The DA is a liberal party that favours free-market policies. The DA was allotted 89 seats in parliament after the 2014 general election, but the party's seat total decreased to 84 seats following the 2019 general election.
Economic Freedom Fighters The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is a South African left-wing to far-left pan-Africanist political party. It was founded by expelled former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema, and his allies, in 2013. Malem ...
: The EFF emerged eight months before the 2014 general election and won 25 seats in parliament. After the 2019 general elections, the EFF increased their seats in parliament to 44, the only party of the top three parties that achieved an increase of members in parliament. The EFF is a far-left revolutionary socialist political party, advocating for land expropriation and for an end to corruption within parliament. The EFF has been widely accused of inflammatory hate speech against White and Indian South Africans.
Inkatha Freedom Party The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) is a political party in South Africa. The party has been led by Velenkosini Hlabisa since the party's 2019 National General Conference. Mangosuthu Buthelezi founded the party in 1975 and led it until 2019. The IFP ...
: The IFP, which was formed in 1990 was the successor to the former government in the now-defunct Kwazulu Bantustan, traditionally draws its support from the Zulu people. It has however made inroads into the minority electorate of Whites and Indians. The IFP was the third-largest party until it was unseated by the EFF and is one of the few parties to have consecutive representation in parliament since democracy in 1994. The IFP apart from the ANC was part of the National Government for 10 years. The IFP champions the rights of traditional leaders and advocates for policies which favour free markets. The party is opposed to socialism and communist policies. Because the ANC has such a large majority in parliament, smaller parties are constantly forming alliances and coalitions in order to act as a stronger opposition to the ANC-run legislative and executive branches.


Seat of Parliament

Parliament sits in
Cape Town Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad ; Xhosa: ''iKapa;'') is the second-most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and also the legislative capital of South Africa. Colloquially named the Mother City, it is the largest city of the Wester ...
, even though the seat of government is in
Pretoria Pretoria (; zu, ePitoli) is one of South Africa’s three capital cities, serving as the seat of the executive branch of government, and as the host to all foreign embassies to South Africa. (Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontei ...
. This dates back to the foundation of the Union, when there was disagreement among the four provinces as to which city would be the national capital. As a compromise, Cape Town was designated the ''legislative'' capital,
Bloemfontein Bloemfontein, ( ; , "fountain of flowers") also known as Bloem, is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals (the other two being Cape ...
the ''judicial'' capital, and Pretoria the ''administrative'' capital. The
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
(ANC) government has proposed moving Parliament to Pretoria, arguing that the present arrangement is cumbersome as ministers, civil servants and diplomats must move back and forth when Parliament is in session. However, many Capetonians have spoken out against such a move, accusing the ANC of trying to centralise power. Under the Constitution, there is provision for Parliament to sit elsewhere than Cape Town on grounds of public interest, security or convenience and Parliament is permitted to provide in its rules and orders for sittings outside Cape Town. Rule 24 of the National Assembly Rules accordingly allows the Speaker to direct that the House will sit at 'a place other than the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town' after consulting the Leader of the House and the Chief Whip of each party represented in the House. Rule 23 of the rules of the National Council of Provinces allows the council to pass a resolution providing for it to sit elsewhere. In 2018, the Government of South Africa formed a project steering committee to conduct a feasibility study into moving parliament to Pretoria and to identify potential sites for a new parliament building. In April 2019, the Minister of Public Works announced that a list of potential sites had been drawn up. In 2020, it was suggested that moving parliament to Pretoria would save R650 million per year.https://www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news/news/moving-parliament-to-pretoria-may-save-the-government-r650m-a-year-professor-48011109


List of Parliaments


Parliaments of the Union

* 1st South African Parliament (1910–1915) – majority party :
South African Party The South African Party was a political party that existed in the Union of South Africa from 1911 to 1934. History The outline and foundation for the party was realized after the election of a 'South African party' in the 1910 South African gen ...
* 2nd South African Parliament (1915–1920) – majority party : South African Party * 3rd South African Parliament (1920–1921) – majority party : South African Party * 4th South African Parliament (1921–1924) – majority party : South African Party * 5th South African Parliament (1924–1929) – majority party : National Party (South Africa), National Party * 6th South African Parliament (1929–1933) – majority party : National Party * 7th South African Parliament (1933–1938) – majority party : United Party (South Africa), United Party * 8th South African Parliament (1938–1943) – majority party : United Party * 9th South African Parliament (1943–1948) – majority party : United Party * 10th South African Parliament (1948–1953) – majority party : National Party * 11th South African Parliament (1953–1958) – majority party : National Party * 12th South African Parliament (1958–1961) – majority party : National Party


Parliaments of the Republic

* 13th South African Parliament (1961–1966) – majority party : National Party * 14th South African Parliament (1966–1970) – majority party : National Party * 15th South African Parliament (1970–1974) – majority party : National Party * 16th South African Parliament (1974–1977) – majority party : National Party * 17th South African Parliament (1977–1981) – majority party : National Party * 18th South African Parliament (1981–1984) – majority party : National Party * 19th South African Parliament (1984–1987) – majority party : National Party * 20th South African Parliament (1987–1989) – majority party : National Party * 21st South African Parliament (1989–1994) – majority party : National Party * 22nd South African Parliament (1994–1999) – majority party :
African National Congress The African National Congress (ANC) is the Republic of South Africa's governing political party. It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the 1994 election, winning every election si ...
* 23rd South African Parliament (1999–2004) – majority party : African National Congress * 24th South African Parliament (2004–2009) – majority party : African National Congress * 25th South African Parliament (2009–2014) – majority party : African National Congress * 26th South African Parliament (2014–2019) - majority party : African National Congress * 27th South African Parliament (2019–present) - majority party: African National Congress


See also

* List of Acts of the Parliament of South Africa * Politics of South Africa * List of legislatures by country * Committees of the Parliament of South Africa


References

* South Africa Act 1909 * Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1961 * Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1983 * Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1993 * Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996 * Kahn, E. (1961). ''The New Constitution''. * Kruger, D.W. (1969). ''The Making of a Nation''. * May, H.J. (1949). ''The South African Constitution''.


External links

* * {{coord, 33.9258, S, 18.4197, E, region:ZA_type:landmark, display=title Parliament of South Africa, Government of South Africa Parliaments by country, South Africa Bicameral legislatures, South Africa National legislatures, South Africa