The second arm of government, te executive, in the province is headed by the Premier is usually appointed by the President. He/She is supported by ten MECs, each of whom is responsible for a particular provincial department, and is answerable to the Legislature for the functions of that department and they are collectively called EXCO which comprises MECs (Members of the Executive Council) who are each responsible for a provincial department. Certain bills and competencies may only be passed by Parliament and the ministries e.g. money bills and justice.

The function of the Executive is to put the laws made by the Legislature into effect, and to ensure that they are implemented. The Executive must make sure that all of the necessary support systems and structures are in place so that the law can be implemented (for example, to ensure that there are enough schools built, and supplies provided to the schools, so that education can be provided to learners). The Executive is really responsible for running the country or province on a practical level. This is done through the government departments, which is also called the Public Administration or the Public Service.

The legislature can force the Premier to resign by passing a motion of no confidence, or remove them for misconduct or inability. Although the Executive Council (cabinet) is chosen by the Premier, the legislature may pass a motion of no confidence to force the Premier to reconstitute the Council.

A Free State Legislature also appoints that province's delegates to the National Council of Provinces, allocating delegates to parties in proportion to the number of seats each party holds in the legislature.


The provincial judiciary operates in much the same way as the national judiciary. The judiciary is the branch of government that deals with the administration of justice. The judiciary is responsible for ensuring that the law is upheld, interpreting the law, applying the law to specific cases, and that those citizens who have broken the laws are punished. The courts, the judges and the magistrates comprise the judiciary.

The judicial system is made up of five categories of courts:

• The Constitutional Court, which is the highest court of appeal in constitutional cases. It may also, on rare occasions, act as the court of first instance (where the case is first heard in court) in constitutional cases. It does not have jurisdiction to hear cases which do not involve a constitutional issue.

• The Supreme Court of Appeal is the highest court of appeal in non-constitutional cases. It can also hear appeals in constitutional cases, but the Court’s decision in constitutional matters potentially may be further appealed to the Constitutional Court.

• The High Courts are courts of first instance in certain matters, and they may also act as courts of appeal for magistrates’ courts decisions. An appeal of a decision of a single judge of the High Court potentially also might be appealed to a full bench of the High Court, comprised of three judges.

• Magistrates’ Courts

• Any other court established or recognised in terms of an Act of Parliament. This includes courts similar in status to High Courts or Magistrates’ Courts. Examples include the Labour Court and the Land Claims Court.



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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