The national and provincial spheres of government have concurrent legislative competence in accordance with Schedule 4 of the RSA Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) (hereafter “the Constitution”). Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures of the Republic of South Africa at national and provincial level have the power to make laws for the country in accordance with sections 43(a) and 44 of the Constitution. The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) represents the provinces to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national legislative process. This is done by participating in the national legislative process and by providing a national forum for the public consideration of issues affecting the provinces.
In terms of the Constitution, the oversight role is located with Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures to provide for mechanisms to ensure that all executive organs of state in the national and provincial spheres of government are accountable. This is intended at advancing the ideals of good government and cooperative governance. Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures have the responsibility of initiating oversight wherein the executive is accountable to the legislative arm as required by sections 92(2) and 133(2) of the Constitution. National Cabinet Ministers and the Members of the Executive Councils (MEC) at provincial government level must act in accordance with the Constitution to provide Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures with full and regular reports concerning matters under their control. Accountability by Ministers and MECs is therefore a constitutional obligation binding Cabinet Ministers and MECs to account on their departments’ functions and take responsibility for their performance.
In terms of the Constitution Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures have the responsibility of ensuring that there is both representative and participatory democracy in South Africa. Members of Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures are elected to office with the responsibility of making decisions on behalf of the public and are accountable to the public. The Legislatures are constitutionally compelled to devise means and mechanisms to ensure public involvement in legislative processes. This is done by providing for facilitation of public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the Legislatures and their committees.