Parliament of South Africa
Multicameral Parliament
Republic of South Africa
Coat of arms or logo
Houses House of Assembly (white)
House of Representatives (colored)
House of Delegates (Indian)
President's Council
Seats 200 (HoA)
60 (HoR)
30 (HoD)
50 (PC)
340 (total)
Meeting place
Parliament House, Pretoria, Transvaal Province
The Parliament of the Republic of South Africa (Afrikaans: Parlement van Suid-Afrika, known popularly as the Multicameral Parliament or simply Parliament) is the tetracameral sovereign legislature of South Africa. It consists of three racially divided houses and one special quasi-executive house. The racially based houses are the House of Assembly, which is reserved for white people; the House of Representatives, which is reserved for colored (or mixed race) people; and the House of Delegates, which is reserved for Indians. The fourth special house is the President's Council, which advises the State President and solves disputes between the racial houses.

When the Union was established in 1909 with the South Africa Act, Parliament was bicameral and consisted of a House of Assembly (as the lower house) and a Senate (as the upper house). Both houses were reserved for whites. In 1983, with the passing of South Africa's third constitution, the racial scheme was established, and the Senate was abolished. The Tricameral Parliament of those days was abolished by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act (78 of 1995), the current constitution, in 1995, and reconstituted as a tetracameral body. The President's Council was made a full component of Parliament.

The House of Assembly consists of 200 MPs (Members of Parliament), the House of Representatives consists of 60 MPs, the House of Delegates consists of 30 MPs and the President's Council consists of 50 MPCs (Members of the President's Council). The racial scheme parliamentarians are directly elected by a first past the post system in constituencies by their respective electorates. Each racial grouping (whites, coloreds and Indians) have their own separate voters rolls. The State President appoints half (25) of the President's Council from wherever he pleases, and the racial houses appoint the remaining 25 seats in a manner decided by the respective house. Currently, the House of Assembly chooses 13 people based on an application system, the House of Representatives chooses 8 people from colored civil society, and Indian civil society popularly elects the final 4 members who must be confirmed by the House of Delegates.

Parliament is located in Parliament House, in the capital Pretoria.



The State President himself, currently J.D. Grobler, is the chairperson of the President's Council, and the Vice State President, currently Leon Smit, in his stead. The racial houses elect from their own ranks a chairperson who drives own affairs debates and manages internal parliamentary procedure. The houses, at a joint sitting at the beginning of every new term, elect a Speaker, who would usually be from the House of Assembly, who manages general affairs debates when the houses meet in the House of Assembly's chamber.

'Own affairs'

The term "own affairs" refers to matters which each of the three racial houses have exclusive legislative jurisdiction over. Own affairs legislation as a general rule applies only to the population group represented by that house of Parliament. The list of own affairs matters is a closed list which can be amended in a joint sitting of all four houses. Any matters not included in the own affairs list are considered general affairs. As of 2015, own affairs include:

  • Welfare
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Local government
  • Arts and culture
  • Recreation

'General affairs'


Partisan makeup

House of Assembly

Name Logo Founded Ideology Seats
Conservative Party (CP)
Konserwatieve Party (KP)
Logo of the Conservative Party (RSA-SWM) 1982 Separate Development, Afrikaner nationalism, social conservatism, anti-communism, mixed market economy 119
Progressive Party (PP)
Progressiewe Party (PP)
Logo of the Progressive Party (RSA-SWM) 1995 Anti-Separate Development, social liberalism, mixed market economy 56
New National Party (NNP)
Nuwe Nasionale Party (NNP)
100px 1996 Separate Development, far-right Afrikaner nationalism, social conservatism, anti-communism, mixed market economy 23
Independents 2

House of Representatives

Name Logo Founded Ideology Seats
Labor Party (LP)
Arbeidersparty (AP)
100px Separate Development, colored rights and interests, mixed market economy 49
Democratic Freedom Party (DFP)
Demokratiese Vryheidsparty (DVP)
100px Conservatism, anti-communism 11

House of Delegates

Name Logo Founded Ideology Seats
United Solidarity Movement (USM)
Vereenigde Solidariteitsbeweging (VSB)
100px Separate Development, Indian rights and interests, anti-communism, free market economy 16
Natal People's Party (NPP)
Natalse Volksparty (NVP)
100px Social conservatism, radical Indian rights and interests, socialism 6
Independents 8

See also