South Africa has nine provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West and Western Cape.
Each province has its own provincial government, with legislative power vested in a provincial legislature and executive power vested in a provincial premier and exercised together with the other members of a provincial executive council.
The legislature has between 30 and 80 members elected for a five-year term based on the province’s portion of the national common voters’ roll. The number of seats awarded to each political party is in proportion to the outcome of the provincial election. Provincial elections are held concurrently with national elections every five years.
The legislature is empowered to pass legislation within its functional areas, as well as a constitution for the province should it wish to do so. A provincial legislature is bound only by the national Constitution, or by a provincial constitution if it has passed one.
The premier & executive council
The premier is elected by the legislature and, as with the President at national level, is limited to two five-year terms in office. The premier appoints the other members of the executive council (MECs), which functions as a cabinet at provincial level. The members of the executive council are accountable individually and collectively to the legislature.
Provincial & national, provincial & local
Strengthening the links between national and provincial government, a province’s permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces may attend and speak in the provincial legislature and committees, but may not vote. The legislature may also recommend legislation to the National Assembly.
The devolution of power to municipal level is furthered by the province’s ability to assign any of its legislative powers to a municipal council in that province.
National legislation may prevail over provincial legislation in cases where they conflict under certain circumstances, such as the maintenance of national security or economic unity, the protection of the environment, or in matters prejudicial to the interests of another province.