The Structure of Government in the Republic of South Africa

The Structure of Government in the Republic of South Africa

The Republic of South Africa (RSA) is a constitutional democracy. It consists of three structures of government, namely: national, provincial and local governments.

The RSA is a sovereign, democratic state. It is divided into nine provinces, each with its own provincial legislature. All these structures of government derive their powers and functions from the Constitution of the RSA.

National Government

The National Assembly is the supreme law-making body in the RSA. Laws made by the National Assembly are applicable throughout the RSA. The same is true of policies made by the Cabinet of the National Government. While there are areas of exclusive legislative competence for the National Assembly, the National Assembly shares its legislative authority with provincial legislatures. Parliament consists of two Houses: the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

The National Assembly is elected for a term of five years and consists of no fewer than 350 and no more than 400 Members. Members are elected in accordance with an electoral system, based on a common voters' roll with a minimum age of 18 years, resulting in a system of proportional representation.


The NCOP consists of 90 delegates, 10 from each province. The primary function of the NCOP is to ensure that provinces are represented in the national legislative process.


Provincial Government

Provincial governments are bound by laws and policies passed at national level, but can develop their own laws and policies within this framework to suit their specific needs. Provincial legislatures may pass their own constitutions subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the RSA.

Local Government

Local governments consist of municipalities whose objectives are, amongst other things, to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities, to ensure the provision of services to communities and to promote social and economic development.


The KZN Legislature consists of 80 members.