The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation met to deliberate on the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act (Sasrea) appeal board vetting. Members were told that ten of the 16 nominated candidates had been cleared to proceed to the interview stage, but the other six had issues with regard to negative credit ratings and criminal records.
After discussion, the Committee reached a unanimous decision that candidates could not be disqualified because of bad credit records, as this was not specified in the criteria or in the Act. It also decided that the four candidates with criminal records needed to undergo fingerprint screening, as the report was not conclusive regarding their criminal records. The fingerprint screening could take place while the interview process for the other 12 candidates commenced.
Sasrea Appeal Board Vetting
Committee Secretary, said that there were two types of results which had come out of the Sasrea Appeal Board vetting document. The first was the check as to whether the nominated people had accurate qualifications, and the document had shown that their qualifications were legitimate. The other result had been from the State Security department, which had been shown in the document.
Mr Teboho Thebehae, the Committee’s Content Advisor, said that out of the 16 short-listed members, ten had passed the security clearance and the other six had certain issues that needed to be addressed. He told the Committee they could work with the ten nominations it had, because the minimum number of board members was seven, but the Committee Members could make a decision to start the nomination process afresh, or continuing to look at the six individual cases that still needed to be addressed.
Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) asked about the state security check. He did not understand why the members had to submit their identity documents, and also needed clarity on what was meant by indicating a person did not qualify because he/she had a negative credit, because most people had a negative credit.
Ms D Manana (ANC) said the ten candidates were enough, and that starting the process afresh to look for new nominees would take time. The six who had criminal records and false qualifications were not suitable, because those were serious offences.
Mr M Malatsi (DA) wanted clarity with reference to legislation on the establishment of a negative credit record, because this was not as serious an offence as a criminal record.
Mr M Mabika (NFP) agreed with Ms Manana, saying that the Committee should continue the process with the ten people, and the six should be disqualified since they had a problem following their nomination.
Mr S Mmusi (ANC) advised that a clear understanding of how some people had been disqualified was needed. The legal route should be looked into, because he did not think a bad credit record could disqualify anyone.
Ms B Abrahams (ANC) agreed with Mr Mmusi, and said that many South Africans became marginalized because of their credit records. An Act had been passed that people should not be treated negatively because of their credit record.
Mr P Moteka (EFF) said that the requirements should have been discussed prior to the members being short listed, and therefore agreed that the Committee should continue with the ten qualified people.
The Chairperson said that the Content Advisor should read the legislation so that the Committee knew what it had to say about bad credit. As leaders, the Committee could not just disqualify six people merely on a negative record. In a case where a candidate had been a student and still owed money to an institution, this would not make it a reason for disqualification.
Mr Ralegoma stated that the report was not conclusive and that even the candidates with criminal records should go do fingerprints so it can show that they have criminal records. He also said that if the committee did not want candidates with a negative credit rating it should have stated so, stressing that even the report thinks that the people have criminal records and that it was not conclusive. Therefore the candidates must come and explain themselves about this negative rating and do fingerprints for those who have criminal records.
Mr Malatsi said that the six candidates were “red flags” and the report just meant to make the Committee aware that the six had issues which could be discussed during the interview process. The report did not necessarily regard them as disqualified, but just made the Committee Members aware of their cases.
Mr L Ntshayisa (AIC) said that the bottom line was the requirements, and if credit was part of requirements, then it should be taken into account.
The Chairperson said that the Committee should first hear the Act and then engage on the matter.
Mr Mphumzi Mdekazi, Committee Researcher, said that in terms of section 26 of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act, Act 2 of 2010, a person is disqualified from appointment to the Appeal Board if such person:
(a) is not a citizen of, or not permanently resident in, the Republic;
(b) is subject to an order of a competent court declaring such person to be mentally ill or disordered;
(c) is convicted, after the commencement of the Act, whether in the Republic or elsewhere, of any offence for which such person is sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine;
(d) at any time prior to the date of commencement of the Act was convicted, or at any time after such commencement, is convicted (i) in the Republic, of theft, fraud, forgery and uttering a forged document, perjury, or an offence in terms of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1958 (Act No. 6 of 1958), the Corruption Act, 1992 (Act No. 94 of 1992), Part 1 to 4, or section 17, 20 or 21 (in so far as it relates to the aforementioned offences) of Chapter 2 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004; (ii) elsewhere, of any offence corresponding materially with any offence referred to in subparagraph (i); (iii) whether in the Republic or elsewhere, of any offence involving dishonesty; or
(e) has been convicted of an offence under the Act..
He advised the Committee to be fair on the six because nowhere in the Act did it talk about credit. The six should be given a chance to explain whether the credit matter was truthful or not.
Mr Thebehae added that in the requirements of the candidates, it did not stipulate that the candidates should have a credit clearance. The Act went on to say that the person would be disqualified if the candidate had a criminal offence and had been found guilty of that offence without an option of a fine. The Act did not disqualify a person who had a criminal record and had not served a term or prison sentence, but had found other ways for being charged, so that did not necessarily cancel out the four people who had criminal records. He asked the Committee to use its discretion in this matter.
Section 26, number 5, says Appeal Board members should have expertise and skills in safety and security, and that there should be fairness, openness and accountability in the part of the members. These were criteria that should be tested in the interview stages of the process, and the decision was up to the Committee Members on whether the four candidates with criminal records should be included in the process, with all the “red flags” and awareness alerts being given by the state security.
The Chairperson asked the Committee about the way forward, and whether they would include the negative credit candidates in the process or not.
Mr Ralegoma suggested that the interview process should continue, and the candidates with criminal records should have fingerprint checks in the meanwhile to make sure that they had been charged. Some of the questions should be put to each candidate in the interview process so that they could defend themselves.
Mr D Bergman (DA) agreed that the fingerprints should be taken. He also commented that there were two kinds of bad credit -- the one the research had revealed about owing money on an account one did not know about, and the other being that of negligence and borrowing more money than one could repay. He advised the Committee to be cautious on this, because if the candidate got the job he would be trusted with peoples’ lives at events and functions.
Mr Malatsi said that the fingerprint process should go ahead, and strongly agreed that the interviews should go ahead in the meanwhile just so that this did not delay matters. The outcome of the fingerprint checks would then give the other four a chance to be interviewed as well.
Mr Moteka said that the legislation did not talk about credit records, therefore the Committee needed to continue with the process and do fingerprints so it could eliminate the real criminals.
The Chairperson agreed with what the majority of the Members had decided, and also agreed that the interviews should proceed while fingerprinting took place. She wanted clarity on how many candidates would be taken to the interview stage.
Mr Thebehae said that including the ten, another two would be taken because they only had negative credit and did not have a criminal record.
Mr Malatsi agreed with the Content Advisor, saying that there was no need for the two candidates to go for fingerprints because state security had not made the Committee aware of any criminal records.
Ms Manana said the document indicated that the people with credit records could possibly have a criminal record themselves if they were tested.
The Chairperson said she was clear on the two being added to the ten, and asked if there was any Member who wanted to object to the two being interviewed.
The Committee decided that the 12 candidates would be interviewed.
After the adoption of Committee minutes, the meeting was adjourned.
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