n Journal of Public Administration - Examining the democratic role of the South African Parliament

Volume 50, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The South African Parliament in a democratic government has to focus on discussions and the promulgation of legislative frameworks that must resolve societal challenges from an economic and social point of view. These important tasks take into consideration the political landscape and ideological factors that influence how it functions. Parliament is very important in the whole architectural structure of the South African Government on the basis that its functionality determines the directives of the performance of the lower structures (provincial and municipal spheres, respectively). The extent to which it functions reflects the economic and social stability in the country and, therefore, the above premise provides a basis for looking into the historic functioning of the first house of this democratic government. The democratic South African Parliament, in 1994, had to change the state to an inclusive dispensation and this required cooperation from all of the political affiliations to facilitate it. This was followed by the second phase of this important transition in 1999, which focused on defeating the colonial past, given the history of colonial Africa. These two phases required a parliament of a special type, in approach and calibre, to deliver the work of nation- and continent-building. The nature of the functioning of this important institution must be robust in the interests of the purpose of its existence, and this article, therefore, seeks to highlight the nature of the institution, given the shift in South African economic and social needs and realities. The article will make reference to whether Parliament is a hands-on institution or an institution that reacts to pressures in adherence to its mandatory operations. The article will also provide governance theories and practices that will develop and grow the institution, or make it merely a talk show of government.

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