The IFP has always
maintained that tradition and democracy are not mutually
exclusive, but complementary. Our constitutional proposals for
KwaZulu-Natal, particularly our bicameral provincial parliament,
present a formidable attempt to offer the best of both worlds
for the benefit of the people of this province.
Accordingly, our draft
constitution seeks wide consensus across the province and its
political spectrum. It is through the two legislative chambers
which we propose that we find the best catalyst for expressing
this consensus in political terms. We propose to bring the
provincial government closer to our people by consulting as wide
spectrum of opinion as possible and by reaching further than the
conventional system of elected representatives allows.
Firstly, our draft
bolsters the notion of separation of powers between the
provincial executive and KwaZulu-Natal parliament by introducing
new checks and balances. We strive to reshape provincial
government by shifting the weight of the executive power from
the Premier to the Cabinet as a collegial body.
Secondly, the IFP draft
re-establishes the centrality of the existing parliament, which
it calls the House of Assembly. By reconciling democratic
institutions with tradition, we introduce a second legislative
chamber, House of Representatives, appointed by municipal
councils, traditional leaders, universities, art and cultural
associations, trade unions, and interests groups.
Ultimately, our draft
aims for co-operative governance within the province by
promoting the co-operation between government, traditional
leaders and municipalities on an equitable footing.
Why do we propose all
this? The 1996 Constitution of South Africa gives us the freedom
to adopt a constitution which can reshape, in any way it wishes,
the executive structures, executive procedures, legislative
structures and legislative procedures of our province.
IFP has grasped this opportunity and formulated its draft
constitution based on these four areas to give our province a
much better government, one which is more consonant to its
needs, features and characteristics.
can improve on the quality of parliamentary democracy in KwaZulu
Natal and ought not to fail to do so. Because of the composition
of the House of Representatives, the power of initiating
legislation and other parliamentary activities, such as
resolutions, is given to entities other than the elected
representatives, for instance the municipalities, universities,
chambers of commerce, the House of Traditional Leaders, trade
unions and newly created entities, such as the Consumer
Protection Commission, cultural councils and the Regulatory
in the IFP feel that this is a great leap forward in broadening
the bases and reach of our democracy. The evil of centralisation
may take hold also within the relationship between the
legislature and its executive, and we ought to avoid it.
elected political representatives are those who should be in
power and the executive should have the function of executing
that which is decided by those who are elected through law or
policies. Accordingly, we provided for many features which
establish the centrality and primacy of Parliament, such as the
provision which gives equal powers to each member of Parliament
of introducing legislation without exclusions in respect of
money Bills. We also make provision for the elimination of the
three year moratorium which is now in place on the exercise of a
vote of no confidence against the Premier or his Cabinet.
are also strengthening the provisions relating to the powers of
our legislature, to exercise its oversight role by giving it
some hard and sharp teeth, such as the power to appoint a
special counsel to be funded by the province who can conduct
parliamentary investigations, and the provision for
parliamentary commissions of enquiry. In many other countries
these are the instruments which have enabled parliaments to keep
their monitoring brief on government.
House of Representatives should reflect the diverse composition
of interests in the province and substantially add to, and
improve on, the principle of elected representation.
where, as in KwaZulu-Natal, there are different political
parties, each consists of people who have dedicated their life
to politics, and are often professional politicians. The IFP
contends that democracy can be more than elected representation.
The House of Representatives will bring into the mainstream
decision-making people with different perspectives, thereby
bridging the ever widening gap between the political world and
the rest of our society. This type of innovation places us at
the forefront of worldwide constitutionalism.
also introduced a provision preventing elected members of the
Legislature from crossing the floor. In principle, the IFP has
been firmly against the notion that a representative elected on
a party list may cross the floor from one political party to the
other. We find this immoral, as those elected are chosen by
their own parties rather than by the people in a constituency
system. We know that the people of South Africa feel the same.
tune with the idea of redistributing power, our proposal places
the ordinary seat of one chamber of Parliament in Ulundi and the
second in Pietermaritzburg. This creates a compromise in the
thorny diatribe of Ulundi versus Pietermaritzburg, which has
divided our province and created the perception that different
political parties care more about certain sections of our
population than others. In addition, we suggested that the
ordinary seat of Cabinet be in Durban.
constitution-drafting process, of which our draft is an
important part, should have two additional functions. Firstly,
it should offer the opportunity to give our people what they
really want in respect of the important issues, reversing what
politicians have done for politicians’ sake. Secondly, it
should offer an opportunity for re-evaluating what in the ten
year old national Constitution can be varied from, or improved
upon, where this is permissible.
issue of crossing of the floor is significant in respect of both
these aspects. It must be remembered that the national
Constitution has thus far been breached in respect of its own
provision for calling for its annual review. This has never
happened in practice. With a solid, people-centred provincial
constitution in KwaZulu-Natal, it might.