Appointment to National Gambling Board: consideration

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Meeting report

ECONOMIC AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE

ECONOMIC AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE
2 September 2002
APPOINTMENT TO NATIONAL GAMBLING BOARD: CONSIDERATION

Chairperson:
Mr M W Moosa (ANC) [Gauteng]

Documents handed out
National Gambling Act
contact
info@pmg.org.za for the following documents:
General Notice on Invitation for Nominations to National Gambling Board
Synopsis of Curriculum Vitae's received
Bundle of Curriculum Vitae's

SUMMARY
There was some confusion as to whether this was a new vacancy on the National Gambling Board which the Committee had to consider. The Chair suggested that a synopsis of the CV's received by the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry should be considered so as to give due consideration to the candidates that had applied. It was eventually discovered that this was an appointment which had been on the books since January 2002, but which had never been finalised. The Committee had decided on a final recommendation in a previous meeting and simply confirmed that recommendation in the Committee Report: Mr H M Tsengiwe.

The Chair was asked to provide Members with an update on recent developments at the WSSD, which included the main, side and parallel events taking place, the types of input received from Parliamentarians, NGO's and businesses and the identification of areas of improvement and those in which no consensus had yet been reached.

MINUTES
Appointment to the National Gambling Board
The Chair informed Members that their direction was needed in the present matter, because when this Committee first received word from the Minister of Trade and Industry (the Minister) that a vacancy had appeared on the National Gambling Board (the Board) which had to be filled, no-one checked the relevant legislation. The result was that everyone was under the impression that the NCOP had to submit its mandate so that the provinces might have direct participation in this matter, but it was then discovered that the provinces already had direct participation on the Board via Section 3(1)(b) of the National Gambling Act (the Act). The Chair then read out Section 3(1) and (3) of the Act:

"Composition of Board
3. (1) The Board shall consist of-
(a) a chairperson, who in the opinion of the Minister, after he or she has consulted with the premier of each province, is a fit and proper person to serve as chairperson of the Board;
(b) one member designated by the Minister;
(c) four members, one each designated by the Ministers of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, of Finance, for Safety and Security, and of Trade and Industry;
(d) one representative of each province designated by the government of such province; and
(e) not more than two members, who in the opinion of the Minister, have applicable knowledge or experience of matters connected with the objects of the Board, and who shall be appointed by the Minister.

(3) The members referred to in subsection (1)(a) and (e) shall be appointed only after the Minister has through the media and by notice in the Gazette invited nominations of persons as candidates for the respective positions on the Board, and the parliamentary committees concerned have made recommendations to the Minister in relation thereto after a transparent and open process of considering persons so nominated, having due regard to the objects of the Board as set out in section 10."

Clarity thus has to be requested from the Minister as to which of the above mentioned categories the present vacancy falls. It cannot be a vacancy in terms of Section 3(1)(d).

The Chair informed Members that he had written a letter to the provincial legislatures while under the impression that this appointment is a Section 76 matter and therefore needs provincial concurrence. He was then informed by Speaker Cachalia that the provinces do have direct representation, but does this mean that the provinces could then become involved in the appointment to the other positions listed in Section 3 of the Act because this would result in a possible conflict of interests.

After the Chair had read through the Act he had assumed that provincial representation is not the vital matter and it could therefore not be a vacancy under Section 3(1)(d), and it could also not be a vacancy in terms of Section 3(1)(a) because the chairperson was not being appointed. It can therefore only be a vacancy in terms of Sections 3(1)(b), (c) and (e). Based on this conclusion, the Chair then wrote a second letter to the provincial legislatures during last week contending that the present matter only requires the submission of a recommendation from this Committee, upon a proper reading of Section 3 of the Act. This was done and CV's were received, which made it clear that this Committee does not need to provide a mandate but must furnish a recommendation, by either agreeing with the candidate proposed by the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry or making another recommendation. The next question which would have to be addressed would then be regarding the kind of recommendation that had to be made.

Ms Saroj Naidoo, Parliamentary Officer: Executive Management Unit in the Department of Trade and Industry (the Department), informed the Chair that it was a vacancy in terms of Section 3(1)(e) of the Act.

The Chair stated that this made matters much clearer and read out that section, and contended that the phrase "applicable knowledge or experience of matters connected with the objects of the Board" refers to Section 10 of the Act, which deals with the objects of the Board. The Chair then read through Section 10:

"Objects of Board
10. The objects of the Board shall be-
(a) with a view to the effective performance of certain matters relating to casinos, gambling and wagering to promote uniform norms and standards applying generally throughout the Republic, and to bring about uniformity in the legislation relating to gambling in force in the various provinces;
(b) to establish and maintain a national inspectorate to perform inspection services in respect of certain gambling activities;
(c) to monitor the existence of any dominant or over-concentrated market-share in the gambling industry in the Republic;
(d) to advise the Minister and the provinces on any matter in respect of which the Minister or the provinces require the advice of the Board;
(e) to do research with reference to any matter referred to in paragraph (a) and to study and investigate all such matters in order to make recommendations for the development, improvement, modernisation or reform thereof;
(f) to facilitate the resolution of any disputes which may arise between the respective provinces regarding the regulation and control of gambling activities; and
(g) to liaise with any, foreign or international body having any objects similar to the objects of the Board."

Based on this conclusion, some of the provinces had responded. The Eastern Cape has confirmed the recommendation of the Portfolio Committee. The Free State replied that the decision lies with this Committee, as it had not received all the relevant documentation and had thus not had the opportunity to formulate a position on the matter. The Kwazulu-Natal province submitted an identical response.

The Chair suggested that Members briefly consider all the candidates interviewed by the Portfolio Committee, as contained in the document entitled "Synopsis of Curriculum Vitae's" (see document above). This would enable Members to become familiar with the persons who applied, their formal qualifications and relevant work experience. Once this has been done the Committee would then look at the CV of Mr H M Tsengiwe, who was ultimately recommended by the Portfolio Committee, so that Members would be satisfied that the recommendation confirmed the requirements in both Sections 3(3) and 10 of the Act. Should Members not be satisfied in this regard, they could then propose a new way forward.

Discussion
Dr D Conroy (NNP) [Gauteng] stated that a vacancy had opened-up on the Board a while back, and the person recommended for that post was the then Acting Director-General of the Department of Education. Was the present position being filled the same post now being reconsidered?

The Chair agreed with Dr Conroy that such a position had been considered by this Committee and Members were part of the interview process with the Portfolio Committee, but were not involved in making the recommendation itself. Therefore Members had to discuss the matter as an NCOP committee.

Dr Conroy stated that he remembered the interactions with Mr Tsengiwe, and he was recommended because it was believed he would have a moderating influence on the Board.

The Chair suggested that Dr Conroy is referring to a much earlier process than the one to which is presently being referred, as this matter has been discussed in the last two to three months.

Ms M Themba (ANC) [Mpumalanga] that Mr S Fenyane (ANC), the former Member of this Committee from the Northern Province, had been the Chairperson during the committee meeting in which Members recommended Mr Tsengiwe.

Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC) [Western Cape] contended that, if this Committee has already recommended Mr Tsengiwe on a previous occasion, Members should abide by that decision now.

The Chair replied that he did not have a problem with this proposal, but stated that all candidates interviewed by the Portfolio Committee had to be given due consideration by this Committee. Should Members be satisfied with that recommendation, then it would be confirmed. The important concern here was that this Committee had to apply its mind to the matter.

Ms Themba stated that all Members were part of the panel that decided on the final recommendation, and the committee agreed with the proposal of the Portfolio Committee that Mr Tsengiwe be appointed.

Dr Conroy said he did not have a problem with this process, but he would have a problem should someone not be satisfied with the Committee's recommendation and decide to open new negotiations and interview new candidates. If, as stated by Members, this Committee had unanimously proposed the appointment of Mr Tsengiwe, then this Committee should now abide by that decision.

The Chair replied that the present vacancy was however concerned with another vacancy, and not that to which Dr Conroy is referring. Thus new nominations were called for, as well as new CV's and recommendations.

Ms Naidoo informed the Chair that this process had begun as far back as January this year.

The Chair stated that Members thus had to apply their minds to the "new bunch" of candidates and CV's received, so that justice may be done to the appointment process.

Dr Conroy asked if Mr Tsengiwe was the official finally appointed to the previous vacancy.

The Chair replied that he could clearly not have been, because he was applying for this new vacancy.

Mr T Ralane (ANC) [Free State] suggested that Members had stated that they had interacted with the Portfolio Committee with the various candidates for the vacancy, and had made up their minds and recommended Mr Tsengiwe on the basis of that interaction. Thus going through the synopsis of CV's at this point in time would serve no purpose, if only to bring those Members who were not party to that interaction up to speed. Should the synopsis be considered, the decision would be re-opened.

The Chair suggested that Dr Conroy is confusing matters, because nothing is being re-opened. Vacancies do occur from time to time, and certain recommendations for filling such vacancies then have to be submitted to the Minister, which is a separate matter altogether. Mr Tsengiwe was not appointed that time, and a different vacancy has now arisen which the General Notice (see document above) now requires this Committee to apply its mind to and consider a nomination. This Committee can then either confirm the recommendation proposed by the Portfolio Committee, or reject it and propose a new recommendation.

Ms Naidoo informed the Chair that this appointment process began earlier in January this year, when this Committee sat in a joint meeting with the Portfolio Committee, but the appointment was never finalised. The Portfolio Committee has since met about a week or two ago to finalise the matter, and its final recommendation has now been presented to the NCOP for approval.

The Chair stated that this is then the same vacancy with which this Committee dealt with initially.

Dr Conroy stated that this Committee thus only had to confirm its recommendation decided upon during a previous meeting.

The Chair asked Ms Naidoo to explain why the Portfolio Committee had taken such a long time to finalise the recommendation.

Ms Naidoo replied that it needed time to fully consider the process.

The Chair read out the Committee Report confirming the Committee's recommendation of Mr H M Tsengiwe, and it was adopted by Members.

Ms Naidoo informed the Chair that the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry would be hosting public hearings on the International Trade Administration Bill on 10 and 11 September and possibly on 13 September as well.

The Chair stated that Members would not be able to attend those hearings, because the Provincial Week would be taking place at the same time.

WSSD Update
Dr Conroy requested the Chair to provide Members with an update on the latest happenings at the WSSD.

The Chair stated that many party delegates and NGO's were attending the WSSD, as well as delegates from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The main government delegation consisting of Ministers and their Directors-General as well as the two chairpersons from the Foreign Affairs and Environmental Affairs Portfolio and Select Committees were invited to attend an IPU meeting on Thursday and Friday. But there were approximately twenty to thirty events taking place at any one time, each with a different theme.

The main conference centre was located in Sandton, and this was where governments were deciding on the ultimate chapter to be released on the Johannesburg Earth Summit. There were also several parallel and side events taking place, which supported or highlighted important matters being discussed, such as the IPU declaration on WTO dealing with the provision of support, which was eventually adopted. Parallel events took place at the Expo Centre (NASREC), each dealing with a different theme. Several discussions took place regarding renewable and non-renewable forms of energy, including displays by private companies of new technologies, concerns raised by NGO's with regard to issues such as water and putting together the relevant documentation. "Big business" had been involved in discussions on financing of support projects, and aid organisations have also become involved here. This illustrated that all the various side and parallel events which all form part of the one main event.

An example of the new technologies on display would be the new solar dish system, which is a portable energy device that could provide free electricity around the clock to rural South African homes at a price of R5m. The technology would become less expensive as time goes by.

The Minister, together with the Minister of Minerals and Energy, attended the side and parallel events, such as those dealing with the impact on the environment. The side and parallel events dealt with a wide variety of issues, including education, health, and especially water.

The main conference dealt with the Summit document and concerned matters such as the Bali process and Agenda 21 adopted from the Rio Summit in 1992. The reality of the matter was that many of the items agreed to in Agenda 21 had not been implemented, and the main perpetrators here were the developed countries. Therefore several processes were underway to evaluate what had been done since Rio as well as what has not been done, its failures and the challenges that lie ahead. The documents that had since been presented had been devised by bureaucrats, and these documents identify what had and had not been finalised, and there were certain areas in which no consensus had been reached at all. Various negotiating processes had been undertaken and there was agreement on most issues, most of these dealing with ideals of the Department and the Department of Finance, such as the Monterey talks regarding the financing of poverty alleviation south of the equator.

It was very difficult to get more than one hundred countries to agree on a single item, especially on the more sensitive issues. Absolute agreement had been reached regarding the realisation of the need to change form and find new and sustainable forms to ensure development. It could be onerous, but the breakdown process indicated that by 2010 every country must ensure that 10% of its total energy usage had to come from a renewable energy source. These sources could include, wind energy and solar energy. The United States had not come to the table on this matter and stated that it would not commit to this objective, but it was under significant pressure on this matter and would probably commit.

Sanitation was a difficult matter because someone had to pay and provide the financial resources, for items such as water supply and the relevant infrastructure. All these dealt with what has been termed "cross-cutting" clauses, which impacted on the trade and finance agreements. It was declared that by 2015 half of the world's population would have access to proper sanitation, and it was known that only those that were adequately resourced could do this, which were essentially the United States and the European Union. Yet the United States had not agreed to the 2015 deadline.

A number of other smaller issues have also arisen, especially dealing with financing and the bottom line here was deciding who would foot the bill for such finance, because everyone agreed on what had to be done and the main matter which now had to be dealt with was who or how the financing would be acquired. Both the Chair and others believe that the Summit had already been a success, but if the big countries were not tied-down to the time frames and deadlines, then the final outcome of the Summit would be "up in the air". All involved know the agenda, and those that do not abide by it will be taken to book.

In many ways the work of the delegation had come to a close, because the heads of state had arrived and they would then thrash out those matters which had not yet been finalised. These unresolved matters would include the trade and industry agreement, which was approximately 120 clauses long, and the delegation had failed to reach consensus on only three matters.

Marches and protests had also been staged at the Summit which had generally been well organised, and no less than 30 000 people were attending the Summit. It had been excellently organised and all the events have gone off smoothly, small hiccups aside. The security service was invisible, the mood was high and all South Africans and Members of Parliament were proud of the Summit and the progress made. This was good for South Africa as it took the country to another level even as far as the technology employed at the Summit was concerned, as no less than six television channels and one radio station had been dedicated to the Summit alone. The document officers, facilitators, processes employed and the manner in which the Members of Parliament and other people attending the conference had been accommodated was excellent.

There were no further questions or comments and the meeting was adjourned.

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