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Parliamentary Matters

 Parliamentary Matters


Role of Parliamentary Committees

The Parliament of South Africa co​nsist of two houses namely the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The Portfolio and Select Committees are established in terms of Chapter 4 Section 55 and Section 69 of the Constitution.

The oversight function is a constitutional mandate for Parliament. Parliament has the responsibility to monitor and oversee the actions of government or any other organ of State, in respect of the implementation of laws, the application of the budget and the observance of the constitution.

Parliament keeps the Executive accountable by approving budgets, asking parliamentary questions, having parliamentary debates about important issues, member statements and by proposing and voting on motions relating to the work of government.

  • Committees can be seen as the "engine rooms" of Parliament's oversight and legislative work. This function must protect the rights of citizens; hold government answerable for how taxpayers' money is spent; ensure that government operations are transparent and that service delivery takes place.
  • Committees are in general proportionally representative of the parties in parliament. Committee meetings are open to the public, but may be closed if there is a good reason to do so;
  • Committees have the power to summon any person or institution to brief or appear before them, give evidence and produce documents on a bill or any other relevant format to their portfolio or that of the department that they are responsible for. Departments, entities and other stakeholders brief committees on budgets, strategic plans, annual reports, departmental projects and other relevant cross cutting issues;​​
  • Committees also receive petitions and representations or submissions from the public and or public hearings;
  • Committees go on oversight visits to provinces, inspect projects of the relevant departments and their provincial or regional offices;
  • Committees may enquire and make recommendations about any aspect of the department including its structure, functioning, budget and policy; and
  • The work of the Committees is not restricted to government. They may investigate any matter of public interest that falls within their area of responsibility and interest.
Portfolio Committees

The National Assembly appoints, from among its members, a number of Portfolio Committees to shadow the work of each national government department and its entities.

Select Committees

The National Council of Provinces appoints from its permanent members a number of Select Committees to shadow the work of each national department and its entities.

Because only 54 of the 90 National Council of Provinces (NCOP) members are permanent delegates compared to the 400 of the NA, the Select Committees oversee the work of more than one national government department. The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) provides oversight on the national aspects of provincial and local government.

For more information on the work of Parliament click here: