Section 42-52 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Section 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51 and 52 of the Constitution of South Africa 1996 (as amended), among others, are under Chapter 4 of the Constitution. Chapter 4 is titled ‘Parliament‘.
Section 42 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Composition of Parliament
1. Parliament consists of
a. the National Assembly; and
b. the National Council of Provinces.
2. The National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces participate in the legislative process in the manner set out in the Constitution.
3. The National Assembly is elected to represent the people and to ensure government by the people under the Constitution. It does this by choosing the President, by providing a national forum for public consideration of issues, by passing legislation and by scrutinizing and overseeing executive action.
4. The National Council of Provinces represents the provinces to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government. It does this mainly by participating in the national legislative process and by providing a national forum for public consideration of issues affecting the provinces.
5. The President may summon Parliament to an extraordinary sitting at any time to conduct special business.
6. The seat of Parliament is Cape Town, but an Act of Parliament enacted in accordance with section 76(1) and (5) may determine that the seat of Parliament is elsewhere.
Section 43 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Legislative authority of the Republic
In the Republic, the legislative authority
a. of the national sphere of government is vested in Parliament, as set out in section 44;
b. of the provincial sphere of government is vested in the provincial legislatures, as set out in section 104; and
c. of the local sphere of government is vested in the Municipal Councils, as set out in section 156.
Section 44 Constitution of South Africa 1996
National legislative authority
- The national legislative authority as vested in Parliament
a. confers on the National Assembly the power
i. to amend the Constitution;
ii. to pass legislation with regard to any matter, including a matter within a functional area listed in Schedule 4, but excluding, subject to subsection (2), a matter within a functional area listed in Schedule 5; and
iii. to assign any of its legislative powers, except the power to amend the Constitution, to any legislative body in another sphere of government; and
b. confers on the National Council of Provinces the power
i. to participate in amending the Constitution in accordance with section 74;
ii. to pass, in accordance with section 76, legislation with regard to any matter within a functional area listed in Schedule 4 and any other matter required by the Constitution to be passed in accordance with section 76; and
iii. to consider, in accordance with section 75, any other legislation passed by the National Assembly.
- Parliament may intervene, by passing legislation in accordance with section 76(1), with regard to a matter falling within a functional area listed in Schedule 5, when it is necessary
a. to maintain national security;
b. to maintain economic unity;
c. to maintain essential national standards;
d. to establish minimum standards required for the rendering of services; or
e. to prevent unreasonable action taken by a province which is prejudicial to the interests of another province or to the country as a whole.
- Legislation with regard to a matter that is reasonably necessary for, or incidental to, the effective exercise of a power concerning any matter listed in Schedule 4 is, for all purposes, legislation with regard to a matter listed in Schedule 4.
- When exercising its legislative authority, Parliament is bound only by the Constitution, and must act in accordance with, and within the limits of, the Constitution.
Section 45 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Joint rules and orders and joint committees
1. The National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces must establish a joint rules committee to make rules and orders concerning the joint business of the Assembly and Council, including rules and orders
a. to determine procedures to facilitate the legislative process, including setting a time limit for completing any step in the process;
b. to establish joint committees composed of representatives from both the Assembly and the Council to consider and report on Bills envisaged in sections 74 and 75 that are referred to such a committee;
c. to establish a joint committee to review the Constitution at least annually; and
d. to regulate the business of
i. the joint rules committee;
ii. the Mediation Committee;
iii. the constitutional review committee; and
iv. any joint committees established in terms of paragraph (b).
2. Cabinet members, members of the National Assembly and delegates to the National Council of Provinces have the same privileges and immunities before a joint committee of the Assembly and the Council as they have before the Assembly or the Council.
The National Assembly
Section 46 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Composition and election
1. The National Assembly consists of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 women and men elected as members in terms of an electoral system that –
a. is prescribed by national legislation;
b. is based on the national common voters roll;
c. provides for a minimum voting age of 18 years; and
d. results, in general, in proportional representation.
[Sub-s (1) amended by s. 1 of Act No. 2 of 2003; and amended by s. 1 of the Constitution Fifteenth Amendment Act of 2009.]
2. An Act of Parliament must provide a formula for determining the number of members of the National Assembly.
Section 47 Constitution of South Africa 1996
1. Every citizen who is qualified to vote for the National Assembly is eligible to be a member of the Assembly, except
a. anyone who is appointed by, or is in the service of, the state and receives remuneration for that appointment or service, other than
i. the President, Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers; and
ii. other office-bearers whose functions are compatible with the functions of a member of the Assembly, and have been declared compatible with those functions by national legislation;
b. permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces or members of a provincial legislature or a Municipal Council;
d. anyone declared to be of unsound mind by a court of the Republic; or
e. anyone who, after this section took effect, is convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment without the option of a fine, either in the Republic, or outside the Republic if the conduct constituting the offence would have been an offence in the Republic, but no one may be regarded as having been sentenced until an appeal against the conviction or sentence has been determined, or until the time for an appeal has expired. A disqualification under this paragraph ends five years after the sentence has been completed.
2. A person who is not eligible to be a member of the National Assembly in terms of subsection (1)(a) or (b) may be a candidate for the Assembly, subject to any limits or conditions established by national legislation.
3. A person loses membership of the National Assembly if that person
a. ceases to be eligible;
b. is absent from the Assembly without permission in circumstances for which the rules and orders of the Assembly prescribe loss of membership; or
c. ceases to be a member of the party that nominated that person as a member of the Assembly.
[Sub-s. (3) substituted by s. 2. of Act No. 2 of 2003; and amended by s. 2 of the Constitution Fifteenth Amendment Act of 2009.]
4. Vacancies in the National Assembly must be filled in terms of national legislation.
Section 48 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Oath or affirmation
Before members of the National Assembly begin to perform their functions in the Assembly, they must swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution, in accordance with Schedule 2.
Section 49 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Duration of National Assembly
1. The National Assembly is elected for a term of five years.
2. If the National Assembly is dissolved in terms of section 50, or when its term expires, the President, by proclamation must call and set dates for an election, which must be held within 90 days of the date the Assembly was dissolved or its term expired. A proclamation calling and setting dates for an election may be issued before or after the expiry of the term of the National Assembly.
[Sub-s. (2) substituted by s. 1 of Act No. 2 of 1999.]
3. If the result of an election of the National Assembly is not declared within the period established in terms of section 190, or if an election is set aside by a court, the President, by proclamation, must call and set dates for another election, which must be held within 90 days of the expiry of that period or of the date on which the election was set aside.
4. The National Assembly remains competent to function from the time it is dissolved or its term expires, until the day before the first day of polling for the next Assembly.
Section 50 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Dissolution of National Assembly before expiry of its term
1. The President must dissolve the National Assembly if
a. the Assembly has adopted a resolution to dissolve with a supporting vote of a majority of its members; and
b. three years have passed since the Assembly was elected.
2. The Acting President must dissolve the National Assembly if
a. there is a vacancy in the office of President; and
b. the Assembly fails to elect a new President within 30 days after the vacancy occurred.
Section 51 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Sittings and recess periods
1. After an election, the first sitting of the National Assembly must take place at a time and on a date determined by the Chief Justice, but not more than 14 days after the election result has been declared. The Assembly may determine the time and duration of its other sittings and its recess periods.
[Sub-s. (1) substituted by s.1 of Act No. 34 of 2001.]
2. The President may summon the National Assembly to an extraordinary sitting at any time to conduct special business.
3. Sittings of the National Assembly are permitted at places other than the seat of Parliament only on the grounds of public interest, security or convenience, and if provided for in the rules and orders of the Assembly.
Section 52 Constitution of South Africa 1996
Speaker and Deputy Speaker
1. At the first sitting after its election, or when necessary to fill a vacancy, the National Assembly must elect a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker from among its members.
2. The Chief Justice must preside over the election of a Speaker, or designate another judge to do so. The Speaker presides over the election of a Deputy Speaker.
[Sub-s. (2) substituted by s.2 of Act No. 34 of 2001.]
3. The procedure set out in Part A of Schedule 3 applies to the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.
4. The National Assembly may remove the Speaker or Deputy Speaker from office by resolution. A majority of the members of the Assembly must be present when the resolution is adopted.
5. In terms of its rules and orders, the National Assembly may elect from among its members other presiding officers to assist the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker.