The Office of the Speaker
The Legislature is made up of two components – the political and the institutional support components.
The Speaker of the Legislature (or the House) is essentially the political Head of the Legislature. The Speaker’s responsibility is to ensure that the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, at large, is run efficiently and with adherence to Constitutional rules and the rules of the House.
However, because the Legislature is composed in such a way that there is a staff compliment that gives administrative support to Office Bearers and the Committees of the Legislature – there is a need for an Administrative Head in the institution, who will account to the Speaker on the work of the Units that support MPLs.
The Provincial Secretary or the Secretary of the Legislature is at the helm of institutional support – serving as an administrative head of the institution.
These are the other Officers Bearers that work with the Speaker in the running of the Legislature:
The Speaker of the GPL oversees the (overall) management of the Legislature. The Speaker also forms part of the sittings of the House and keeps control of all the debates that take place in the House.
The Speaker has a Deputy Speaker who stands in for them in their absence from the sittings of the House. Both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are MPLs, who are elected into their positions by other MPLs.
The Chairperson of Committees co-ordinates the work of Committees and presides when both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker are absent.
As briefly discussed above, the Provincial Secretary or Secretary of the Legislature is the only one is the administrative Head of the Legislature. The Secretary is responsible for managing the staff of the Legislature, whose daily work is to provide a support service to the MPLs. All the Directors of the different service streams in the GPL (each heading a group of Units) are answerable to the Secretary.
The Secretary has a Deputy Secretary, who is also the main contact person for all the political parties, whose MPLs have offices at the GPL quarters.
The Chief Whip (of the Legislature) is the most senior whip and is elected from the political party with the most MPLs in the House. Party Whips are the people who organise the work of MPLs in party caucuses. They are they are the people who decide which MPL will sit in which Committee.
Apart from the Secretary of the Legislature, all Office Bearers are MPLs. They are appointed to their positions by either their parties or by the House.