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The Gauteng Provincial Legislature is one of nine (Provincial Legislatures) in the country, which are a product of extensive negotiations that gave shape to the 1996 Constitution. The Gauteng Provincial Legislature is empowered by the Constitution to make laws for Gauteng, oversee the work of the Provincial Government, and ensure that the people of the Province participate in matters of the running of their Province. Every day, the residents of Gauteng have high expectations for the Government of Gauteng to bring about a better life through effective governance and a prompt delivery of services. It is, therefore, the duty of the Legislature as a ‘watchdog’ over the Gauteng Provincial Government to ensure its efficiency and honesty. HOW IS THE LEGISLATURE COMPOSED... Being the Parliament of the Province, the Legislature is a House comprising the Speaker (who Heads up the Legislature) and Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) from various political parties, as per the vote of the Gauteng Province. Political parties get seats in the Legislature through a system of proportional representation – meaning, the party with the majority of votes gets the majority of MPLs in the House. HOW DOES THE LEGISLATURE DO ITS WORK... The Constitution empowers each of the nine Provincial Legislatures to make laws that apply uniquely to their Province, according to its needs. When conducting the daily business of the Legislature, the House comprising a collective of MPLs is divided into Portfolio Committees. Each of these Committees is attached to a Department in the Provincial Government, and has a duty to enhance the Department’s ability to deliver services through advisory, monitoring and oversight. The Legislature also has Standing Committees, which deal with diverse issues (other than Provincial Government Departments). These Committees consider Bills and other matters referred to them by the Speaker or the House. There are also Ad Hoc Committees, which work with various experts to handle emerging matters that require specialised expertise. The Legislature also has an Administration staff complement, which gives operational support to the work of Committees of the House. The Administrative wing of the Legislature is headed by the Provincial Secretary (or Secretary to the Legislature). Collectively, MPLs consider Bills placed before them by the Provincial Executive, which comprises the Premier of Gauteng and the Members of the Executive Council (MECs). WHEN MAKING LAWS... Every new legislation starts out as a Bill. Each Bill is carefully discussed to ensure that it is relevant to the needs of the Province, clear, practical and in line with the Constitution. MPLs also receive submissions from the people of Gauteng on matters of concern to the Province, which may require specific legislation to be instituted. WHEN PERFORMING OVERSIGHT OVER THE GAUTENG EXECUTIVE COUNCIL... MPLs debate Bills, budgets, statements and speeches by MECs, either in Committee meetings or in plenary sessions of the Legislature. Committees have the power to summon MECs and Government Departmental officials to answer questions relating to service delivery in the Province. The MECs must be prepared to answer hard questions on how they are delivering a better life to the people of Gauteng. Committees can also undertake investigations into activities by Government Departments and such investigations are often open to public scrutiny. The Legislature allows the people of Gauteng to participate in law-making and oversight processes. It is a Constitutional requirement that the Provincial Legislature affords Citizens an opportunity to partake in legislative processes. HOW DOES THE PUBLIC PARTICIPATE IN THE WORK OF THE LEGISLATURE... Committees of the Legislature hold regular meetings with civil society organisations to share views on legislative and service delivery matters. This helps MPLs to get familiar with challenges facing communities.