Welcome to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament
The Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) is one of the nine provincial legislatures in South Africa. It is situated in the Provincial Legislature Building at 7 Wale Street, Cape Town.
The WCPP, along with the other provincial legislatures, exists by virtue of Chapter 6 of the Constitution of South Africa and Chapter 3 of the Constitution of the Western Cape. It is a unicameral parliament and consists of 42 members elected on proportional representation system.
The Fourth Parliament of the Western Cape was elected on 22 April 2009 in South Africa's fourth democratic elections.
The WCPP is modelled on the Westminster system. The executive head of the provincial government, the Premier of the Western Cape, is elected by the Members of the Provincial Parliament from among themselves. Conventionally the Premier will be the leader of the largest party in the parliament. The Premier then chooses the members of the provincial cabinet, who must also be MPPs. The Provincial Parliament also has the power to force the Premier and Cabinet to resign, by passing a motion of no confidence.
The legislative power of the Provincial Parliament is restricted to specific areas as contained in the national Constitution. In some of these fields the power is shared with the national Parliament. The fields on which the Provincial Parliament may legislate include healthcare, primary and secondary education, agriculture, transport, and land use planning. It also controls the budget of the provincial government.
Legislation may be introduced by any Member, except for money bills, which may only be introduced by the Minister of Finance. Laws passed by the Provincial Parliament must be signed by the Premier before coming into effect. The Premier may refer a bill back to Parliament for reconsideration if he/she believes it is unconstitutional. If the Parliament re-passes it, then the Premier must either sign it or refer it to the Constitutional Court, which can make a final decision on its constitutionality.
The WCPP consists of 42 members who are elected through a system of party list proportional representation. In other words, each voter casts a vote for one political party, and seats in the legislature are allocated to the parties in proportion to the number of votes received. The seats are then filled by Members in accordance with lists submitted by the parties before the election.
The legislature is elected for a term of five years, unless it is dissolved early. This may occur if the legislature votes to dissolve and it is at least three years since the last election, or if the Premiership falls vacant and the legislature fails to elect a new Premier within 90 days. By convention all nine provincial legislatures and the national parliament are elected on the same day.
The presiding officer of the WCPP is the Speaker, assisted by a Deputy Speaker. Apart from being the executive head of the province, the Premier also leads the governing party or coalition in the Provincial Parliament. The leader of the largest party not in government is recognised as the Leader of the Opposition.