Provincial government

Northern Cape provincial government buildingsThe eye-catching architecture of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature buildings in Galeshewe, Kimberley, the home of the province's government. (Image: Media Club South Africa)

Each of South Africa's nine provinces has its own legislature, with 30 to 80 members elected according to proportional representation. The legislature in turn elects one of its members as premier, head of the provincial government.

The premier appoints an Executive Council (akin to the national Cabinet), consisting of members of the legislature, to administer the various departments of the provincial administration. These heads of department are known as members of the Executive Council, or MECs.

The legislature makes provincial laws, and may adopt a Constitution for the province if two-thirds of its members agree. A provincial Constitution must be in line with the principles of the national Constitution.

Provinces are allowed legislative and executive powers - alongside the powers of the national government - over a number of issues. These include gambling, education (excluding university education), the environment, healthcare, police services, vehicle licensing and welfare.

The provinces can take responsibility for administration of these issues if they have the capacity.

Provinces also have exclusive powers over a number of areas, including abattoirs, ambulance services, liquor licences, local museums, culture and recreation, and provincial roads and traffic. Compiled by Mary Alexander and reporter Updated: 6 November 2015

Want to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using material


Helping the media cover the South African story >

Weather forecasts

South Africa weather forecasts

Snap daily forecasts for 20 cities and
towns. >