The National Council of Provinces, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa



Current Chairperson

H.E.Amos Masondo



The National Council of Provinces, Parliament of the Republic of South Africa has a total of 54 members, 35 males and 19 females.

The members of the NCOP are nominated by their political parties in the provincial legislatures and then appointed to the NCOP by the provincial legislatures, which act as the Electoral College.

NCOP members have a term of five years provided they are not removed from office.

A member can be removed before the end of his/her tenure. In terms of section 62(4) of the Constitution, a person ceases to be a permanent delegate if that person:-
• Ceases to be eligible to be a member of the provincial legislature for any reason other than being appointed as a permanent delegate.
• Becomes a member of the Cabinet
• Has lost confidence of the provincial legislature and is recalled by the party that nominated that person
• Ceases to be a member of the party that nominated that person and is recalled by that party
• Is absent from the NCOP without permission in circumstances for which the rules and orders of the Council prescribe loss of office as a permanent delegate.

The Upper and Lower Houses pass legislations except for certain constitutional amendments that: 
1 Relate to a matter that affects the Council;
2 Alter provincial boundaries, powers, functions or institutions; or
3 Amend a provision that deals specially with a provincial matter.

• Both Houses have to ratify International Agreements.
• Both Houses conduct oversight over the national executive.
• Committees of the Houses confer with each other if instructed to do so.


The Presiding Officer is addressed as the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.
Section 64(2) provides that the Chairperson and one of the Deputy Chairpersons are elected from among the permanent delegates for five years unless their terms as delegates expire earlier. 
He is nominated at the same time with other members to the provincial legislature from where he is appointed to the NCOP. Section 64(6) provides that the Council may remove the Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson from office.

A brief outline of the functions of the Chairperson is as follows:
• He has the overall responsibility and accountability for the usage of NCOP Parliamentary time.
• Presides over the House sittings.
• Presides over the NCOP Programme Committee meetings to ensure that the NCOP discharges its constitutional obligations.
• Has the overall responsibility for the scheduling of parliamentary business.
• Accounts for the utilization of resources for the operation of the NCOP.
• Oversees that the NCOP fulfils its oversight role.
• Represents the NCOP internationally (and with the Speaker of the National Assembly, represents Parliament internationally).
• Oversees that Members of the NCOP are empowered to fulfill their roles as public representatives.
• Has the overall responsibility with the Speaker of the National Assembly to oversee the budget of Parliament.
• Has the overall responsibility to oversee the budget of the Secretary to the NCOP and the Office of the Chairperson.
• Holds the overall responsibility to monitor and implement parliamentary policies and procedures.
• Ensures that there is an effective and efficient relationship with the National Assembly, the Executive, the Provinces and Local Government.
• Holds the overall responsibility for overseeing the management and effective functioning of the NCOP.
• Presides over the NCOP Rules Committee.
• Together with the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Chairperson presides over the Joint Rules Committee and the Joint Programme Committee.
• The Chairperson, Speaker of the National Assembly, Deputy Chairperson and Deputy Speaker constitute the Joint Tagging Mechanism.

In general, the Presiding Officers are equivalent to the National Ministers. 

The Members in the Chamber elect the Presiding Officer. The Chief Justice of South Africa presides over the election of the Chairperson or designates another judge to do so. The Chairperson then presides over the election of the Deputy Chairpersons. 

A Presiding Officer must obtain the simple majority of votes cast by the provinces (i.e. five votes out of a total of nine provinces).

The NCOP may remove the Chairperson from office as per section 64(6) of the Constitution read with rule 14 of the NCOP Rules. In terms of the Council Rules, the House may by resolution moved by the head of a provincial delegation and seconded by the heads of at least three other delegations, move for the removal from office of the Chairperson or a Deputy Chairperson.

However, in terms of the Constitution and the rules, the removal from office as a Presiding Officer is not linked to the removal as a member of the Council. If the reason for the removal falls within the provisions of section 62(4) of the Constitution such a person would cease to be a member of the Council as well.

Designations of other Principal Officers are:

1. Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP (referred to as the Permanent Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP)
2. Rotating Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP 
3. Chairperson of Committees
4. Deputy Chairperson of Committees

These other Principal Officers can also be removed before the end of their tenure as stated in rule 14 of the Council rules. The Council may by resolution moved by the head of a provincial delegation and seconded by the heads of at least three other delegations, remove from office any other Principal Officers. The reason may vary from “loss of confidence” in the Principal Officer, including those reasons outlined in section 62(4) of the Constitution.


The permanent Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP assists the Chairperson in discharging his/her functions.

Chairperson of Committees:-

 Ensuring the compilation of Programmes by select Committees that are in compliance with their Strategic Plans.
 Facilitating the drafting of budgets by Select Committees.
 Providing reports to the Programme Committee meeting regarding committee activities in respect of the processing of legislation.
 Monitoring of support provided by the Committee Section.
 Ensuring/Tracking the processing of legislation by Committees.
 Coordinating of Select Committees’ Strategic and Business Plans and Programming of Select Committees’ activities.
 Convening and chairing the Forum of Chairpersons of Committees and Caucus Chairpersons quarterly.
 Convening and chairing regular meetings of the Chairpersons of Committees.

Deputy Chairperson of Committees

 Co-coordinating of oversight activities of Select Committees.
 Ensuring the compilation of the committee reports on oversight activities.
 Ensuring that all committees are briefed on the Budget Votes by government departments and providing progress reports on such briefings to the Programme Committee.
 Monitoring of compliance by the Executive with respect to recommendations set out in reports of Select Committees through the Office of the Chairperson of the NCOP.
 Facilitating of implementation of recommendations of the oversight subcommittee by championing implementation by the Task Team on Oversight by overseeing work by officials.
 Facilitating oversight and monitoring the reports on the workings of the Public Education Unit. This is informed by the political imperative that Parliament should be accessible to the people as well as the constitutional imperative of facilitation of public participation.

 Addressing members’ queries regarding Members’ Interests by liaising and ensuring that policies in this regard are implemented.
 Acquaint it with policies regarding labour relations and be the receptacle of such matters in order to advise the Office of the Chairperson and enable it to intervene appropriately where necessary.
 To facilitate installation of systems to ensure that the institution is fully Information Technology compliant and technologically ready to deal with its functions.
 To attend and provide inputs to the Forum of Chairpersons of Committees and Caucus Chairpersons which meets quarterly to exchange information, perspectives and discuss, where necessary, issues relating to support to members or members’ interests.
 Ensure finalization of existing draft policies on Leave for Members, Artworks Management, Exhibitions, and Library. Once Policy is adopted, monitor and report on implementation progress or otherwise.
 Monitor and report on Household Services work especially in relation to Parliament as well as maintenance and security of its assets.

The Chairperson of Committees and the Deputy Chairperson of Committees are appointed by resolution of the House.


The NCOP does make use of a committee system. Committees are the vehicles for the NCOP and the National Assembly to fulfill their roles

The current parliamentary system makes provision for 10 Committees in the National Council of Provinces and 8 Joint Committees.

The number of members in each committee varies depending on the nature of the committees, e.g. a cluster of a Select Committee consists of 13 to 16 members, and subcommittees consist of 5 members except the Programme committee which consist of 19 members. Ad hoc committees consist of 9 members

The Presiding officer chairs the Rules committee and the Programmes committee.

The Role of the Committee in the Legislative Process
In terms of Section 42(2) of the Constitution, the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) participate in the legislative process in the manner set out in the Constitution. In terms of sections 55 and 68 of the Constitution, in exercising its legislative power, the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces may consider, pass, amend or reject any legislation before the Assembly or the Council. Sections 57 and 70 of the Constitution further provides that the rules of the Assembly and the Council must provide for the establishment, composition, powers, functions, procedures and duration of its committees. In accordance with this constitutional mandate, the committees of the Assembly and the Council consider, pass, amend and reject legislation. Rule 149 of the Council rules further provides that the function of the committee on members’ legislative proposals is to consider and make recommendations to the Council on all legislative proposals made by the Council members who intend introducing Bills in the Council.

There are four categories of committees in the NCOP, that is:
1. Select Committees: 
Each committee is a combination of a number of related portfolios as a number of affairs of Government may be grouped together in any single select committee (clustering).

2. Domestic or House Committees: Consists of the Rules Committee, Programme Committee and the Committee of Chairpersons.
3. Select Committee on Members’ Legislative Proposals: Considers and makes recommendations to the NCOP on legislative proposals referred to it.
4. Ad Hoc Committees: These committees may only be established to perform a specific task. The NCOP’s resolution must include timeframes for the completion of a task. Once it has completed the task, such an ad hoc committee ceases to exist.
5. Joint Committees: Joint Committees consist of members of both Houses. Their functions are governed by the Joint Rules. .

Chairpersons of committees are expected to possess certain qualities that would enable them to effectively conduct meetings of the committee, e.g. knowledge of the rules of Parliament, ability to conduct a meeting in an impartial manner etc.

Chairpersons of Select Committees are elected among members of the committee, whereas those of subcommittees are appointed by the Rules Committee, except those committees for which the rules prove otherwise, e.g. the Programming Committee, Rules Committee and the Joint Rules Committee, which are chaired by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.

The tenure of a committee is linked to the tenure of the National Council of Provinces, that is, five years.

The duties of a Committee Chairperson include:
• Convening and chairing meetings of the committee.
• Overseeing the compilation of the minutes and reports of the committee.
• Overseeing the budget of the committee.
• Compiling the business plan of the committee, including the strategic plan.
• Compiling the Programme of the committee in liaison with the Chairperson of Committees.


There are eight (8) Political Parties in the Chamber. Their names and percentages of representation are shown as follows:

1. African National Congress (ANC) = 71%
2. Democratic Alliance (DA) = 14%
3. Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) = 4%
4. New National Party (NNP) = 3%
5. Independent Democrats (ID) = 2%
6. United Democratic Movement (UDM) = 2%
7. United Christian Democratic Party (UCDP) = 2%
8. Freedom Front Plus (FF+) = 2%


The NCOP is tasked with an oversight function in terms of the Constitution.
It ensures that the executive is accountable in the process of exercising the mandate of the electorate. In terms of section 62 of the Constitution, the National Council of Provinces may require a Cabinet Member, a Deputy Minister or an official in the national executive or a provincial executive to attend a meeting of the Council or a Committee of the Council.

The NCOP is also obliged in terms of section 231 of the Constitution to ratify International Agreements entered into by the executive although Foreign Affairs is a national competence.

Other Functions of the Chamber:
The constitutional mandate of the National Council of Provinces is to:
• Represent the provinces to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government.
• Participate in the national legislative process.
• Provide a national forum for public consideration of issues affecting the provinces.
• Hold the Executive to account in terms of Section 92.

The chamber has a standing rule of business called the Rules of the National Council of Provinces. The chamber can also amend or suspend its rules.

It also has the power to discipline its members.

The Council has no hand in the recruitment of staff. The Parliament of South Africa has a Human Resources Department, which deals with the recruitment, discipline and training of staff. 
The NCOP utilizes the Human Resources Department when it requires its services regarding recruitment etc. The Secretary to Parliament is also requested for approval to recruit and appoint staff.

It is however involved when political staff are recruited and appointed.
The chamber controls its own budget; however, such control is regulated in terms of the Public Finance Management Act.

On an administrative level also, the Secretary to Parliament is the Accounting Officer responsible for the control of funds of Parliament, it is then delegated to the Secretaries of both Houses from a specific House.


Office of the Chairperson = Chairperson of the NCOP (Political 
Head of the Institution)

Secretary to the NCOP = Divisional Head (Head of the 

Provincial and Municipal Liaison Section = Section Manager

Procedural Services Section = Section Manager

Administration Unit = Unit Manager


The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces
Ground Floor
Old Assembly Wing
Office S11
P.O. Box 15
Cape Town

Advocate L.L. Matyolo
The Secretary to the NCOP
First Floor
Old Assembly Wing
Office S25
P.O. Box 15
Cape Town

Telephone number(s): 27 21 403 2118/2127
Fax number: 27 21 403 2660
Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
H.E. Naam Miyara - chairman of The House of Councillors of the Kingdom of Morocco
H.E. Abdulwasie Yusuf Ali - Secretary General - The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Anwar Al-shoaybi - Director of Cultural and Social Affairs