Parliament makes new laws, changes existing laws and repeals laws that are no longer needed. Laws can be made in different ways.
HOW A LAW IS MADE
A bill (draft law) is introduced in Parliament by a Minister, a Deputy Minister, a parliamentary committee or an individual Member of Parliament (MP). Most bills are drawn up by government department under the direction of the relevant Minister or Deputy Minister. A bill introduced by a member of the executive must be approved by the Cabinet before being submitted to Parliament for processing. Bills introduced by individual MPs are called private members’ bills.
Before it can become a law, a bill must be passed by both Houses of Parliament. Most bills are introduced in the National Assembly, but certain bills that affect provinces may be introduced in the NCOP. Once it has been introduced, a bill is referred to the relevant committee. where it is debated in detail and, if necessary, amended. If there is much public interest in a bill, the committee may organise public hearings. Once the committee has finalised its deliberations on a bill, it reports to the corresponding House. After the House has debated the bill, it takes a decision on whether to pass the bill. A bill could be referred back to the committee for further work before the House takes a decision. Once the first House has agreed and passed a bill, it is then referred to the other House. If a bill passes through both the National Assembly and the NCOP, it is sent to the President for assent. Once the President has signed a bill passed by the Houses, it becomes an Act of Parliament – a law of the land.