Second chamber as a site of legislative intergovernmental relations: An African federation in comparative perspective
South Africa, a country that does not recognize itself as a federation, has established a second chamber that is probably ideal for legislative intergovernmental relations. The National Council of Provinces is explicitly mandated to represent provincial interests. This is so both in terms of composition and the authority it enjoys in influencing national legislation. This article argues that the functioning of the second chamber tells a different story. The South African experience reveals that a properly designed second chamber may not deliver the desired result of facilitating legislative intergovernmental relations owing to internal operational rules that do not allow subnational governments to properly consider a bill, formulate a mandate that reflect subnational concerns and instruct their delegation to vote accordingly. Intergovernmental relations, as a result, continues to be the domain of the executive, denying the federation the benefit of an institution for intergovernmental relations that is open to public scrutiny.