Role of the Legislature

Section 104 of the Constitution of the Republic provides that:
(1) The legislative authority of a province is vested in its provincial legislature, and confers on the provincial legislature the power –
    (a) to pass a constitution for its province or to amend any constitution passed by it in terms of sections 142 and 143;
    (b) to pass legislation for its province with regard to –
          (i) any matter within a functional area listed in Schedule 4;
          (ii) any matter within a functional area listed in Schedule 5;
          (iii) any matter outside those functional areas, and that is expressly assigned to the province by national legislation; and
          (iv) any matter for which a provision of the Constitution envisages the enactment of provincial legislation; and
          (v) to assign any of its legislative powers to a Municipal Council in that province.

Section 114 of the Constitution provides that
(1) In exercising its legislative power, a provincial legislature may- ¬
    (a) consider, pass, amend or reject any Bill before the legislature; and
    (b) initiate or prepare legislation, except money Bills.

MPLs consider Bills placed before them by the provincial executive, comprised of the Premier and the Members of the Executive Council (MECs). MPLs debate Bills and budgets presented to them by the Provincial Executive in committee meetings and in sittings of the Legislature. Section 118 of the Constitution places an obligation on a provincial legislature to facilitate public involvement in the law-making and other processes of the Legislature.

Role of Departments

If a department identifies a need for legislation, it invites all stakeholders to make inputs and consults with them. A Bill is then drafted.

The draft Bill is translated into the three official languages of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, i.e. isiZulu, English and Afrikaans. A certificate by a sworn translator must accompany the draft Bill.

The draft Bill is submitted by a government department to the State Law Advisor who has to ascertain if the draft Bill complies with all constitutional provisions. If it does, the State Law Advisor issues a certificate of compliance.

The draft Bill is also submitted to Treasury for a certificate on financial implications.

Role of the Executive Council

The Office of the Leader of Government Business (LOGB) must ensure that the draft Bill complies with the Standing Rules of the KZN Legislature before it reaches the Executive Council.

The draft Bill is submitted to the Executive Council through the LOGB, together with an explanatory memorandum. The explanatory memorandum must also comply with the Standing Rules of the KZN Legislature.

The Executive Council either approves, rejects or redirects the Bill in the form of a resolution.

Role of the Legislature

Bills are submitted to the Office of the Speaker under the hand of the relevant MEC.

The Bill is published in the Government Gazette, and members of the public are given 21 days after the date of publication to respond. (This does not apply if a certificate of urgency is issued by the Speaker). The Speaker refers the Bill to the relevant committee and copies of the Bill are distributed to Members.

Once the committee process is complete, the committee refers the Bill and the committee report to the House for purposes of debate. Members of the House may propose further amendments to the Bill and, if this happens, the Bill is recommitted to the committee for consideration of all proposed amendments.

The committee reports back to the House, after which the Bill goes onto the Order Paper for consideration of the amendments agreed to by the committee. A debate on all amendments takes place in the House. After the debate is concluded, a question is put to the House and the House then votes on the Bill. If the Bill is passed, it goes to the Premier for assent (three copies).

Once the Premier signs the Bill, it automatically becomes an Act and should be published promptly. In any event, the Act must be published within 14 days after the Premier puts his signature to the Bill.

The Act takes effect on the day of publication or any other date determined under the Act.

One signed copy of the Act is sent to the Registrar of the Constitutional Court for safekeeping. One copy remains in the Office of the Premier and a third copy is kept by the KZN Legislature.

 

Page Count
Hits: 410