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National Council of Provinces
25th Parliament / 4th Democratic Parliament
Coat of arms or logo.
Type Upper house of Parliament of South Africa
Chairperson M. J. Mahlangu, ANC
since 2004
Leader of the Opposition Watty Watson, DA
Members 90
Seat breakdown of the National Council of Provinces.svg
Delegation breakdown of the National Council of Provinces.svg
Voting system Indirect proportional representation from provincial legislatures
Meeting place
Senate Chamber.jpg
NCOP Chamber, Houses of Parliament, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
National Council of Provinces
South Africa

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The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) is the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa under the (post-apartheid) constitution which came into full effect in 1997. It replaced the former Senate, but is very similar to that body, and to many other upper houses of legislatures throughout the world, in that its purpose is to represent the specific viewpoints of individual provinces.



Election to the NCOP is indirect. Citizens vote for provincial legislatures. Each of these legislatures then nominates a delegation of ten members to the NCOP. The delegation, which includes the premier, must reflect the proportion of each political party in the provincial legislature. Thus, each of South Africa's nine provinces has equal representation in the Council regardless of population. A delegation from the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) may also attend sittings of the NCOP, but may not vote.


The NCOP has two decision making mechanisms depending on the type of Bill. In the first mechanism bills are passed if the majority of members vote for that bill. In the second, each provincial delegation may cast one vote. In such cases, legislation is passed if five of the nine provinces vote in favour. A bill proposing a Constitutional Amendment requires the approval of six provincial delegations before going to the National Assembly for approval. The NCOP may consider, amend, propose amendments to, or reject legislation. It must consider all national bills, and also has the power to initiate legislation which relates only to the provinces or in areas in which both the national and provincial governments have powers to make law (Schedule 4 areas).

Chairpersons of the National Council of Provinces

Name Term Party
Patrick Lekota 1997 - 1999 ANC
Naledi Pandor 1999 - 2004 ANC
Joyce Kgoali 2004 ANC
M. J. Mahlangu 2004 - (acting to 17 Jan 2005) ANC


Parliament of South Africa Website: National Council of Provinces

See also



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