Committees that make up the Gauteng Provincial Legislature
The Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) is the house of representatives of various political parties that make up the government of our country.
These are members who have been elected to represent parties in proportion to their parties’ voting strength during (the latest) national government elections.
The total of 30 – 80 Members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs) is divided into 17 Committees, with each party being represented in every Committee to ensure equity and that all public views are considered without prejudice.
Each party represented in the GPL is allocated seats in committees, which is in proportion to the number of seats that each party has in the Legislature.
What do Committees do?
Committees discuss, amend and substitute Bills referred to them either through submitted petitions or as decided by the House. They also pass budgets for the province and ensure that the provincial government carries out all its programmes as planned.
Committees also communicate with MECs regularly, to get constant updates on government projects that have and have not been delivered. It is the Committees who also determine how much money each government department receives to spend annually.
These Committees also determine what each government department can spend the money on (meaning Committees assist government departments to prioritise programmes).
All of these activities of Committees contribute to the GPL’s oversight role, and ensuring that the Provincial Government works well for the people of Gauteng.
Types of Committees:
- i) Portfolio Committees
These are GPL Committees that are attached to provincial government departments for oversight purposes. Their role is to advise departments on how carry out government programmes.
Examples of Portfolio Committees are: Agriculture & Rural Development; Infrastructure Development; Human Settlements; Education; Economic Development Committees, etc.
- ii) Non-portfolio Committees
These are Committees that the GPL has established to handle matters relating to the Provincial Executive. They are also known as Standing Committees.
Standing Committees are there for the duration of the term of the Legislature, which is normally five (5) years.
Standing Committees consider Bills and other matters referred to them by the Speaker of the GPL or by resolution of the House.
Examples of Standing Committees are: Public Accounts; Oversight Committee on the Premier’s Office and Legislature; Petitions; Privileges and Ethics Committee, Committee on Scrutiny of Subordinate Legislation, etc.
Other important functions of Committees:
- The Committee advises the MEC on how to improve on the implementation of government programmes;
- They initiate and/ or introduce legislation;
- Independently investigate and report on issues of bad governance in the province. The House would sometimes summon Committees to investigate such issues, as they relate to each Committee;
- Exercise oversight over the Executive and Administration;
- Call for evidence, summon persons to appear before them and produce any documents required by them, publish a bill before them for representations and comments by the public;
- Committees also call for public hearings.