National Council of Provinces
  • 10 other official names:
  • Nasionale Raad van Provinsies (Afrikaans)
  • umKhandlu weNarha oNgamele iimFunda (Southern Ndebele)
  • IBhunga leSizwe lamaPhondo (Xhosa)
  • uMkhandlu kaZwelonke weziFundazwe (Zulu)
  • uMkhandlu waVelonkhe wetiFundza (Swazi)
  • Lekgotla la Bosetšhaba la Diprofense (Northern Sotho)
  • Lekgotla la Naha la Diprofense (Sotho)
  • Lekgotla la Bosetšhaba la Diporofense (Tswana)
  • Huvo ya Rixaka ya Swifundzhankulu (Tsonga)
  • Khoro ya Lushaka ya Mavunḓu (Venda)
28th Parliament
Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, ANC
since 15 June 2024
Deputy Chairperson
Chief Whip
Kenny Mmoiemang, ANC
since 15 June 2024
Seats90 (54 permanent, 36 special)
Political groups
  •    ANC (29 + 25)
  •    DA (13 + 7)
  •    EFF (9 + 2)
  •    Others (3 + 2)
Last election
29 May 2024
Next election
Meeting place
NCOP Chamber, Houses of Parliament, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
National Council of Provinces

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) is the upper house of the Parliament of South Africa under the (post-apartheid) constitution which came into full effect in 1997. It replaced the former Senate, but is very similar to that body, and to many other upper houses of legislatures throughout the world, in that its purpose is to represent the governments of the provinces, rather than directly representing the people.[1]


The NCOP consists of ninety delegates, ten delegates for each of the nine provinces regardless of the population of the province. Each province is equally represented in the NCOP.

A provincial delegation is composed of six permanent delegates and four special delegates. The party representation in the delegation must proportionally reflect the party representation in the provincial legislature, based on a formula included in the Constitution.

The permanent delegates are selected by the nine provincial legislatures. The four special delegates include the Premier of the province and three other delegates. They are nominated by each province from the members of the provincial legislature and are contingent on the subject matter being considered by the NCOP. The premier leads the province's delegation in the NCOP, but they can choose any of the others delegates to head of the delegation in their absence.

The South African Local Government Association is also part of the NCOP. SALGA has 10 delegates who may partake in the debates and other activities, but they do not vote.

Current composition

After the elections of 29 May 2024, the new provincial legislatures met on 13 and 14 June 2024 to elect NCOP delegations. The first sitting of the NCOP took place on 15 June 2024. The delegations elected are described in the following table.

Party Delegate type Province Total
African National Congress Permanent 3 3 2 1 4 3 4 3 1 24 30
Special 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
Democratic Alliance Permanent 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 3 12 15
Special 1 2 3
UMkhonto WeSizwe Permanent 1 3 1 5 6
Special 1 1
Economic Freedom Fighters Permanent 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 9
Special 1 1
Freedom Front Plus Permanent 1 1 2 2
Special 0
Inkatha Freedom Party Permanent 1 1 2
Special 1 1
United Democratic Movement Permanent 1 1 1
Special 0
Patriotic Alliance Permanent 1 1 2
Special 1 1
Total 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 90

Role in the legislative process

The NCOP may consider, amend, propose amendments to, or reject the legislation. It must consider all national bills, and also has the power to initiate legislation in the functional areas where Parliament and the provincial legislatures have concurrent legislative power.[1]

The NCOP has four decision-making mechanisms depending on the type of bill:[2]

Office bearers

Chairperson and deputy chairperson

The office of President of the Senate was succeeded by the office of chairperson of the National Council of Provinces in 1997. The inaugural holder of the position was Mosiuoa Lekota. He served as chairperson from 1997 to 1999. The chairperson is elected from the permanent delegates for a five-year term. The election of the chairperson is presided over by the Chief Justice of South Africa. The Chief Justice can, however, designate another judge to preside. The chairperson, in turn, presides over the other elections that takes place in the chamber. The legislative body also elects a permanent deputy chairperson. A second deputy chairperson is elected for a one-year term. The position rotates between the nine provinces, enabling the provinces to have its members elected second deputy chairpersos.,

The chairperson chairs all the sittings of the National Council of the Provinces. If the chairperson is not present at the sittings, the deputy chairperson or House Chairpersons can preside over the sitting of the chamber.[3]

The current chairperson is Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane who took office on 15 June 2024. The following people have served as chairperson of the NCOP:

No. Portrait Name
Term of office Political party
Took office Left office Time in office
1 Mosiuoa Lekota
(born 1948)
6 February 1997 21 June 1999 2 years, 135 days African National Congress
2 Naledi Pandor
(born 1953)
21 June 1999 4 May 2004 4 years, 318 days African National Congress
3 Joyce Kgoali
4 May 2004 21 November 2004
(Died in office)
201 days African National Congress
4 Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu
(born 1952)
17 January 2005
Acting since
21 November 2004
22 May 2014 9 years, 125 days African National Congress
5 Thandi Modise
(born 1959)
22 May 2014 22 May 2019 5 years African National Congress
6 Amos Masondo
(born 1953)
23 May 2019 28 May 2024 5 years, 41 days African National Congress
7 Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane 15 June 2024 Incumbent 17 days African National Congress

Chairperson of the Committees

The chairperson of the committees is appointed by the members of the legislature. The position holds the following roles, including presiding over the meeting of the committee of chairpersons, approve the budget and expenditures of the committees and to preside over sittings of the House, when the chairperson and deputy chairperson are not available.

Chief Whips and Party Whips

Whips represent their individual parties' interests and ensure the discipline of their members. They also ensure that their parties function effectively. There are two Chief Whips who are official office bearers, the Chief Whip of the majority party and the Chief Whip of the largest opposition party. The smaller parties have Senior Whips assisted by a number of whips. The Chief Whips are formally appointed by the chairperson. The Chief Whip of the majority party is responsible for the detailed arrangement of the legislative business.[4]

Leader of the Opposition

The position is designated to the leader of the largest opposition party in the legislature. Cathlene Labuschagne of the Democratic Alliance has been serving as Leader of the Opposition since her election in September 2016.

See also


  1. ^ a b "National Council of Provinces". Parliament of South Africa. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  2. ^ Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, ss. 73–77.
  3. ^ NCOP PRESIDING OFFICERS. Retrieved on 28 December 2018.
  4. ^ National Council of Provinces. Retrieved on 29 December 2018.