The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, section 104(1) determines that; “The legislative authority of a province is vested in its provincial legislature.” This is therefore the foundation of the Free State Legislature. The Constitution further provides for the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive legislative and judiciary branches of government. This separation of powers manifests itself in three distinct and different branches of government.
The national Constitution is the supreme authority in South Africa, and the three branches of government, namely the Legislative (national Parliament and the provincial Legislatures), Executive (the Cabinet in national government and the Executive Councils in the provinces), and Judicial (the judges and magistrates who preside over the courts), are subservient to it. Each of these branches has its own functions and is independent from each other.
In line with the doctrine of separation of powers, the Constitution provides for the following specific powers and functions of each of these branches of government when dealing with legislation. These can be summarized as follows;
- Assenting to and signing bills;
- Referring a Bill back to the provincial legislature for reconsideration of the Bill’s constitutionality;
- Referring a Bill to the Constitutional Court for a decision on the Bill’s constitutionality;
- Implementing provincial legislation in the province;
- Implementing all national legislation within the functional areas listed in Schedule 4 or 5, except where the Constitution or an Act of Parliament provides otherwise;
- Administering in the province, national legislation outside the functional areas listed in Schedules 4 and 5, the administration of which has been assigned to the provincial executive in terms of an Act of Parliament;
- preparing and initiating provincial legislation
Free State Legislature
- Consider, pass, amend or reject any Bill before the legislature; and
- Initiate or prepare legislation, except money Bills.
The function of the Judiciary is to interpret laws that are made by the legislative branch of government.