Plenary is chaired by the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, with two deputy chairpersons (from organised labour and organised business respectively). The chair of the Executive Committee (EXCO) serves as the first deputy chairperson and is appointed by the Deputy President at the inaugural meeting of the Plenary of Council.
The second deputy chairperson is selected through a process whereby Council members submit names to the Secretariat for consideration by the Deputy President within 30 days of the inaugural meeting of the Plenary of Council. The Deputy President announces the appointment of the second deputy chair at the plenary meeting of the Council following its inaugural meeting.
Government, civil society sectors, organised business, professional bodies, higher education institutions, research communities, co-opted members and organised labour are represented in the HRDC.