The powers of the Legislature are set out in section 114 of the constitution. The Legislature is empowered to pass legislation within its functional areas. in exercising its legislative power, a provincial legislature may:
1. Consider, pass, amend or reject any Bill before the legislature; and
2. Initiate or prepare legislation, except money Bills.
A provincial legislature must provide for mechanisms to:
- ensure that all provincial executiveorgans of state in the province are accountable to it; and maintain oversight of (i) the exercise of provincial authority in the province, including the implementation of legislation; and (ii) any provincial organ of state.
Members of the Executive Council are therefore accountable individually and collectively to the legislature. The Legislature exercises oversight over the Executive Council and can call on the Memebers of the Executive Council at any time to explain actions and/or decisions. A provincial legislature may also determine and control its internal arrangement, proceedings and procedures and make rules and order concerning its business, with due regard to representative and participatory democracy, accountability, transparency, and public involvement. A provincial legislature is bound only by the national Constitution, or by a provincial constitution if it has passed one. No provincial constitution has been passed for the Free State.
The 3 arms of government in the provinces
The 3 arms of government in the provinces are run along the same lines as those on a national level. There is the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. The legislative arm in the provinces is called the Provincial Legislature.
In South Africa, the Provincial Legislature of a province is the legislative branch of the government of that province. The Provincial Legislatures are unicameral and vary in size from 30 to 80 members depending on the population of the province. In general the Provincial Legislature is made up of only one “House”. MPLs are elected for five years, just as the MPs in Parliament are. At the provincial level, the Premier heads the "executive". The Premier appoints MPLs from the majority party to be Members of the Executive Council (MECs), and the Premier and the MECs form the “government”.
In addition to the above "Houses", the new Constitution allows for the formation of additional Houses of traditional leaders, both on a national and provincial level, who may play a role at a local level on matters affecting local communities.
The Free State Legislature currently has 30 MPLs and is situated in Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State Province. Currently, there are 22 MPLs for the African National Congress, 2 MPLs Ecomonic Freedom Fighters (EFF) official opposition 5 MPLs for the Democratic Alliance (DA) – and 1 MPLs for the Freedom Front plus