Cape Provincial Council

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The Cape Provincial Council was the provincial council of the Cape Province of South Africa. It was created by the South Africa Act 1909, with effect from the formation of the Union of South Africa on 31 May 1910. The first election to the provincial council took place on 15 September 1910 (also the day of the South African general election, 1910).[1]

The provincial council continued to exist until 1986, when its functions were transferred to a strengthened executive authority appointed by the State President. The province itself was disbanded in 1994, when the provinces were reconstructed.[2]

Election system and terms[edit]

The provincial council was composed of members elected, by the first past the post electoral system, from single member electoral divisions. Provinces (like Cape Province) with more than 25 general roll seats in the House of Assembly used the same boundaries for provincial council elections as well.

In addition to the general roll electoral divisions, some additional provincial council seats were created in Cape Province for periods when black and coloured voters were still enfranchised, but had been removed from the general roll. This policy was effected (for black voters) by the Representation of Native Act 1936 and (for coloured voters) by the Separate Representation of Voters Act 1951.

Originally the term of the provincial council was five years, from the first meeting of the council after it was elected. The administrator of the province fixed the date for the meeting, but the provincial council had to meet at least once a year. The South African Parliament could alter the term by legislation (as it did when the provincial elections due in 1941 were postponed until 1943), but there was no general power to dissolve a provincial council before its statutory term expired.[3]

Under the Constitution and Elections Amendment Act 1973, the State President was given the power to dissolve the provincial councils at the same time as the House of Assembly, so that the subsequent provincial election could took place on the same day as a parliamentary general election.[4]

Executive committee[edit]

Executive powers were shared by the administrator and an executive committee. This arrangement was neither the traditional 'Westminster' model (such as that which existed at the Union level of government) or a United States style separation of powers between the executive and legislative parts of the government.

The administrator of the province was described, in section 68 (1) of the South Africa Act 1909, as “a chief executive officer … in whose name all executive acts relating to provincial affairs therein shall be done”.

The administrator was appointed, by the national government, for a five-year term and could not be removed except by the Governor General for “cause assigned”. The administrator was not responsible to the provincial council and it had no power to remove him from office. The administrator was the chairman of the provincial executive committee and had both an original and casting vote in its deliberations.

The provincial council elected four persons (usually members of the provincial council), who together with the administrator formed the provincial executive committee. The four members were elected by single transferable vote, so were not necessarily all from the same party.

It was provided, by Section 80 of the South Africa Act 1909, that “the executive committee shall on behalf of the provincial council carry on the administration of provincial affairs’’.[5]

Election results, by party 1917 and 1935-1981[edit]

Election National Party South African Party Unionist Party Total
1917 15 11 19 45 [6]
Election NP UP Lab PFP Dom Ind SAP Others Total
1935 20 32 - - - - - 9 61 [7]
1943 18 34 2 - 1 1 - - 56 [8]
1949 26 28 1 - - - - - 55 [9]
1954 30 24 - - - - - 2 56 [10]
1959 33 21 - - - - - - 54 [11]
1965 35 17 - 2 - - - - 54 [12]
1970 36 18 - - - - - - 54 [13]
1974 37 17 - 1 - - - - 55 [14]
1977 44 2 - 6 - - 3 - 55 [15]
1981 44 1 - 10 - - - - 55 [16]

Key to parties:-

References[edit]

  • Keesing's Contemporary Archives (various volumes)
  • South Africa 1982: Official Yearbook of the Republic of South Africa, published by Chris van Rensburg Publications
  • The South African Constitution, by H.J. May (3rd edition 1955, Juta & Co)
  1. ^ The Times, edition of 26 July 1910, confirms the setting of the election date
  2. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1985, page 33831. It was announced on 6 May 1985 that the Provincial Councils were to be phased out between 29 April and 30 June 1986.
  3. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1940-1943, page 4859 (postponement of the 1941 elections)
  4. ^ South Africa 1982, page 153 (provisions in the 1909 and 1973 Acts, about the terms of provincial councils)
  5. ^ The South African Constitution, pp 602-604
  6. ^ The Times, article of 3 August 1917
  7. ^ The Times
  8. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1943-1946, page 6154
  9. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1948-1950, page 9964
  10. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1952-1954, page 13794
  11. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1965-1966, page 20702 (1959 results mentioned with the 1965 results)
  12. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1965-1966, page 20702
  13. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1969-1970, page 24341
  14. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1974, page 26541
  15. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1978, page 28813
  16. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives 1981, page 30973