South Africa is a democratic country with a sound Parliament. The Parliament directly represents the people who elected them into the space in the first place. Therefore, the Parliament is the voice of the people, and must serve the needs of the people whom they must be accountable to.
Therefore, the roles of parliament in South Africa revolves around being the people’s voice. The Parliament, which is expected to be always busy, has a whole lots of roles and responsibilities as granted by the Constitution. The Parliament in South Africa primarily makes laws, which must guarantee the general well-being of the people.
Roles Of Parliament In South Africa
The roles of parliament in South Africa are wrapped around the interests of the citizens. Every five years in the country, qualified citizens are presented with the chance to cast their votes for a new Parliament in South Africa. Hence, the members in Parliament are simply standing in on behalf of others.
Here are basic roles and functions of Parliament in South Africa:
1. Parliament in South Africa is responsible for making and passing laws. It should be noted that in this country, government is in three spheres: National Government, Provincial Government and Local Government. Now, at the National level, government is in three parts: Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.
The Legislature is the arm of government that is saddled with the responsibilities of making and passing laws. This is the power vested in Parliament, and their major role is to act in this capacity.
2. Parliament in South Africa is into two: the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. One of the major functions of the Assembly is that it chooses the President of the country, who is the Head of the Presidency, overseeing the Executive aspect of government.
3. The National Assembly is the country’s national platforms where issues are debated publicly. It is known that there are different members that sits in the Assembly, and they have different opinions to different things. Thus, members of the National Assembly debate national issues for all to see.
4. The National Assembly is also empowered to scrutinise and oversee the actions of the executive in the country. This is a strong point, if we consider the fact that it appoints the President of the country in the first place. The President, who is the Head of the Presidency, can appoint other integral executive principals. However, the Assembly still oversee and scrutinise the actions and activities of the executive, for very good reasons.
In South Africa, as it is in several other spaces, there is separation of power, and appropriate checkmate is established. The Executive is a very powerful arm of government, and it is really necessary for another arm to be constitutionally empowered to act like a watchdog to its affairs.
5. A major importance of the National Council of Provinces revolves around the need to see to it that the interests of the country’s Provinces are adequately treated at the national level. Therefore, the Council is a platform where members also take part in the law-making process to discuss things concerning the provinces.
6. The Parliament in South Africa can also make its own rules as it deemed fit. The Constitution has permitted the Parliament to take charge of the affairs of its own internal proceedings. Therefore, the National Assembly has a set of rules and orders that it operates with, as well as the National Council of Provinces.
Important Things You Should Know About Parliament In South Africa
Each new Parliament in South Africa is appropriately numbered. The very one regarded as First Parliament in South Africa came at the back of the 1994 elections. Since the people have the opportunity to establish a new Parliament every five years, the next one (Second Parliament) came from the general elections that took place in 1999.
In South Africa, Parliament is made up of two Houses. The first and most prominent is known as the National Assembly. This directs its affairs around national issues, and its debates are publicly done. The other arm is known as the National Council of Provinces, and its affairs are usually carried out around matters of Provinces.
Basically, the duo operates by the Constitution, which has established their distinct role and functions. Nevertheless, there are moments when both will come together to conduct “joint business”.
Members of Parliament in South Africa have been granted freedom of speech as they engage in debates or committees businesses, which must be only utilized in accordance with the rules of the Houses.
Additionally, these officers have the backing of the Constitution to bring crucial issues to the attention of the Houses as well as the public. The Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 2004 was purposefully made to protect their right in this regard, granting them needed privileges and protection.
The Parliament must always move with the public, since it is meant to be foremost accountable to the people. In fact, the people were the ones who have granted its powers, via their backings through the Constitution. Hence, we can’t never look down on the importance of the people as far as the work of Parliament is concerned.
Parliament in South Africa must give adequate space for public participation in the law-making process. Additionally, the Constitution has instructed that the people should not be left in the dark as regarding stuff like its committee meetings and House sittings. Therefore, every South African citizen can always know what is going on in Parliament if they are interested.
The roles of parliament in South Africa are beyond making and passing laws. Members of Parliament, who are elected by the people, must coordinate all their actions towards representing the interests of the citizens of the country.