Senate Act, 1955

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Senate Act, 1955
enacted by the Parliament of South Africa
Act No. 53 of 1955. First published on 29 June 1955 in Government Gazette Extraordinary No. 5502, and came into force upon publication. Amended on 3 June 1960 by the Senate Act, 1960. Sections 1–9 repealed on 31 May 1961 by the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, 1961; the remainder repealed on 28 October 1981 by the Repeal of Laws Act, 1981.

This is the text as originally enacted and does not incorporate the 1960 amendment. A version incorporating that amendment is also available on Wikisource.

Act

To make provision for the dissolution and the constitution of the Senate, to amend the South Africa Act, 1909, and the South-West Africa Affairs Amendment Act, 1949, and to provide for matters incidental thereto.



(English text signed by the Governor-General.)
(Assented to 20th June, 1955.)


Preamble.Whereas it is by section twenty-five of the South Africa Act, 1909, provided that Parliament may provide for the manner in which the Senate shall be constituted after the expiration of a period of ten years from the establishment of the Union.

And whereas provision is made in the said section twenty-five for the manner in which the Senate shall be constituted until Parliament otherwise provides:

And whereas it is expedient to make provision for the constitution of the Senate in a manner other than that provided for in the said section twenty-five:

And whereas it is expedient to make provision for matters incidental thereto:

Be it therefore enacted by the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa, as follows:―


Dissolution of the Senate.

1. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in sections twenty, twenty-four and twenty-five of the South Africa Act, 1909, or any other law―

(a) the Governor-General shall by proclamation in the Gazette, dissolve the Senate at any time before the thirty-first day of December, 1955; and

(b) all the members of the Senate except those members of the Senate who were elected under the Representation of Natives Act, 1936 (Act No. 12 of 1936), but including those members who were elected or nominated under the South-West Africa Affairs Amendment Act, 1949 (Act No. 23 of 1949), shall, upon the dissolution of the Senate in terms of paragraph (a) of this section, vacate their seats,

and the Senate shall thereafter be constituted as provided in this Act.

(2)

(a) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in section twenty of the South Africa Act, 1909, or any other law, the Governor-General may at any time within one hundred and twenty days from the expiry of the term of office of a provincial council under section seventy-three of the said Act, by proclamation in the Gazette dissolve the Senate.

(b) Any dissolution of the Senate under paragraph (a) of this sub-section shall for all purposes be deemed to be a dissolution of the Senate under paragraph (a) of section one of the Senate Act, 1926 (Act No. 54 of 1926).


Constitution of the Senate.

2. (1) The Senate shall, subject to the provisions of the Representation of Natives Act, 1936, and of the South-West Africa Affairs Amendment Act, 1949, consist of―

(a) sixteen senators nominated by the Governor-General; and

(b) so many senators, but not less than eight, in the case of each province as are equal (to the nearest figure) to one-fifth of the number of the electoral divisions into which that province has at the last delimitation under the South Africa Act, 1909, for the election of members of the House of Assembly been divided, together with the electoral divisions into which that province has been so divided for the election of provincial councillors.

(2) The Senators referred to in paragraph (b) of sub-section (1) shall in the case of each province be elected jointly by the then sitting members of the House of Assembly and provincial councillors for that province other than the members elected under the Representation of Natives Act, 1936.


Nominated senators.

3. (1) The senators nominated by the Governor-General in terms of paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) of section two shall, subject to the provisions of section one of the Senate Act, 1926 (Act No. 54 of 1926), hold their seats for five years.

(2) One-half of the senators so nominated shall be selected on the ground mainly of their thorough acquaintance by reason of their official experience or otherwise, with the reasonable wants and wishes of the coloured races in South Africa.

(3) If the seat of a senator so nominated becomes vacant, the Governor-General shall nominate another person to hold the seat until the completion of the period for which the person in whose stead he is nominated would have held the seat.


Elected senators.

4. (1) The senators elected under sub-section (2) of section two shall hold their seats for five years unless the Senate be sooner dissolved.

(2) If the seat of an elected senator becomes vacant, the then sitting members of the House of Assembly and the provincial councillors for the province concerned (other than the members elected under the Representation of Natives Act, 1936), shall elect a person to hold the seat until the completion of the period for which the person in whose stead he is elected, would have held the seat.

(3) Senators shall be elected by majority vote each voter having one non-transferable vote for each senator to be elected.

(4) If two or more persons who are at any election of senators candidates for the same seat, receive the same number of votes, a re-election of a senator for that seat shall be held forthwith according to that principle of proportional representation according to which each voter has one transferable vote, and if at such a re-election the said persons again receive the same number of votes, one of the said persons to be determined by the drawing of lots shall be deemed to have been elected as a senator for that seat.

(5) The Governor-General may make regulations in regard to the election of senators under this Act, including regulations in regard to the duties of returning officers in connection with such elections and in regard to the drawing of lots in the circumstances contemplated in sub-section (4).


Amendment of section 26 of the South Africa Act, 1909.

5. Section twenty-six of the South Africa Act, 1909, is hereby amended by the deletion of paragraph (e) thereof and of the words “and property situated within” wherever they occur.


Amendment of section 30 of the South Africa Act, 1909.

6. Section thirty of the South Africa Act, 1909, is hereby amended by the substitution for the word “twelve” of the word “fifteen”.


Substitution of section 63 of the South Africa Act, 1909.

7. The following section is hereby substituted for section sixty-three of the South Africa Act, 1909:

“Disagreement between the two Houses.

63. (1) If the House of Assembly in any session passes a Bill imposing taxation only or dealing with the appropriation of revenue or moneys for the public service, and the Senate in the same session rejects or fails to pass it or passes it with amendments to which the House of Assembly will not agree, the Bill shall, unless the House of Assembly otherwise directs, be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen’s assent and shall as soon as it has been assented to in the Queen’s name by the Governor-General, become an Act of Parliament and be taken to have been duly passed by both Houses of Parliament, notwithstanding that the Senate has not consented to it.

(2) There shall be endorsed on every Bill which imposes taxation only or which deals with the appropriation of revenue or moneys for the public service, when it is sent up to the Senate and when it is presented to the Governor-General for the Queen’s assent, the certificate of the Speaker of the House of Assembly signed by him that it is such a Bill.

(3) If the House of Assembly in two successive sessions (whether of the same Parliament or not) passes a Bill, other than a Bill referred to in sub-section (1), and the Senate in each of those sessions rejects or fails to pass it or passes it with amendments to which the House of Assembly will not agree, the Bill shall, unless the House of Assembly otherwise directs, be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen’s assent and shall as soon as it has been assented to in the Queen’s name by the Governor-General, become an Act of Parliament and be taken to have been duly passed by both Houses of Parliament, notwithstanding that the Senate has not consented to it, provided those sessions were not held in the same calendar year.

(4) When a Bill is presented to the Governor-General for the Queen’s assent in terms of sub-section (3), there shall be endorsed on the Bill the certificate of the Speaker of the House of Assembly signed by him that the provisions of this section have been duly complied with in relation to that Bill.

(5) A Bill shall be deemed to be the same Bill as a former Bill sent up to the Senate in the preceding session if, when it is sent up to the Senate, it is identical with the former Bill or contains only such alterations as are certified by the Speaker of the House of Assembly to be necessary owing to the time which has elapsed since the date of the former Bill, or to represent any amendments which have been made by the Senate in the former Bill in the preceding session, and any amendments which are certified by the Speaker to have been made by the Senate in the second session and agreed to by the House of Assembly, shall be inserted in the Bill as presented to the Governor-General for the Queen’s assent in terms of this section: Provided that the House of Assembly may, if it thinks fit, on the passage of such a Bill through the House of Assembly in the second session, suggest any further amendments without inserting the amendments in the Bill, and any such suggested amendments shall be considered by the Senate, and, if agreed to by the Senate, shall be regarded as amendments made by the Senate and agreed to by the House of Assembly, but the exercise of this power by the House of Assembly shall not affect the operation of this section in the event of the Bill being rejected by the Senate.

(6) The provisions of this section shall not apply in relation to such a Bill as is referred to in section thirty-five or one hundred and fifty-two”.


Amendment of section 134 of the South Africa Act, 1909.

8. Section one hundred and thirty-four of the South Africa Act, 1909, is hereby amended by the deletion of the words “of senators and” and the words “or, in the case of the first election of the Senate, the Governor-in-Council of each of the Colonies”.

Amendment of section 1 of Act 54 of 1926.

9. Section one of the Senate Act, 1926, is hereby amended by the substitution in sub-paragraph (ii) of paragraph (b) for the word “ten” of the word “five”.


Amendment of section 30 of Act 23 of 1949.

10. Section thirty of the South-West Africa Affairs Amendment Act, 1949, is hereby amended―

(a) by the substitution in sub-section (3) for the word “ten” of the word “five” and for the words “to be a senator, who shall also hold his seat for ten years” of the words “to hold the seat until the completion of the period for which the person in whose stead he is nominated, would have held the seat”;

(b) by the substitution for paragraphs (b) and (c) of sub-section (4) of the following paragraphs:

“(b) Senators shall be elected by majority vote each voter having one non-transferable vote for every senator to be elected.

(c) If two or more persons who are at any election of senators candidates for the same seat, receive the same number of votes, a re-election of a senator for that seat shall be held forthwith according to that principle of proportional representation according to which each voter has one transferable vote, and if at such a re-election the said persons again receive the same number of votes, one of the said persons to be determined by the drawing of lots shall be deemed to have been elected as a senator for that seat.

(d) The Governor-General may make regulations in regard to the election of senators under this section, including regulations in regard to the duties of returning officers in connection with such elections and in regard to the drawing of lots in the circumstances contemplated in paragraph (c).”;

(c) by the substitution in sub-section (5) for the word “ten” of the word “five”.


Other laws providing for additional senators not derogated from.

11. Nothing in this Act contained shall derogate from the provisions of any law in which provision is made for the election or nomination of additional senators.


Short title.

12. This Act shall be called the Senate Act, 1955.

This work is in the public domain because it was created and first published in South Africa and it is an official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or an official translation of such a text.

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