Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board vacancies: Provincial Treasury briefing

Finance (WCPP)

13 February 2019
Chairperson: Mr D Joseph (DA)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met with the Provincial Treasury to discuss the process that led to the selection of candidates for the vacant positions in the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board. The current Committee will consider shortlisted candidates and make appropriate recommendations to the Minister, while the incoming Committee will be responsible for vetting shortlisted candidates. The incoming Committee will continue the selection process from where the current Committee stopped. 

The Provincial Treasury consulted extensively with legal experts to determine the effectiveness of the various options. Four options were designed based on various criteria including qualification, job and Board experience, gender representivity, disability and racial grouping. The Accounting Officer of the PT recommended Option 4, which was based on qualification, job and Board experience, female gender and disability. This Option aligns with proposed legislation. Applicants who reside outside Western Cape Province were interrogated specially and the Standing Committee was required to examine the responses of the applicants. The primary criterion for selection is qualification. Suitably qualified applicants were further scrutinised based on gender representivity, disability and racial grouping. The CEO of 'Disability, South Africa' also applied, showing that the efforts to reach out to people with disability were fruitful.

Members argued that qualification should form the basis for selection. Members argued in favour of Option 1 with the inclusion of racial grouping. Option 1 considers qualification, job and Board experience, governance experience while enhancing female gender, black people and people with disability. White males should be given fair treatment in Option 1, as racial grouping only accounts for 14% of the requirements. Members also proposed that people with informal governance experience should be given fair treatment in the selection process. The score of Board experience should be 1 instead of 2. This will give applicants with no prior Board experience an increased chance to get selected. This will increase the chance to have fresh injection into the Board, which will potentially boost innovation in the Board.

Meeting report

The Chairperson thanked everyone in attendance. The agenda dealt with the process leading to the finalisation of the interviews for the various vacancies in the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB). He offered apologies on behalf of MEC Ivan Meyer and Ms C Beerwinkel (ANC). The Committee aimed to have more say in the decisions made by the WCGRB. The Committee needed to cut-off some meetings and oversight visits to create room for legislation, interviews and quarterly reports.

Discussion
Mr P Uys (ANC) said the Committee was already familiar with the short-listing process. Further discussions on interviews and vetting of candidates should be left to the incoming Standing Committee. The new Committee should take ownership of the process and ensure that the Board is well-constituted. The Committee would make recommendations to the Minister about an extension of time so that most suitable candidates are appointed into vacant positions. He noted that the Committee would save considerable time if it only gave short inputs regarding the selection process.

Mr R McKenzie (DA) wanted to know if the appointment process will start all-over or continue from the current position when the sixth Parliament is constituted.

The Chairperson said that it is important for the current Committee to approve short-listed candidates. However, the vetting of candidates will be done by the new Committee.

The Chairperson accepted Mr Uys’ proposal.

Mr Harry Malila, Head: Fiscal & Economic Services, Provincial Treasury, agreed with the Chairperson’s view. The Department of Finance (DoF) will work on the list approved by the Committee. The new Committee should continue from where the current Committee left. The Provincial Treasury (PT) will make recommendations to the Minister on the appointment of candidates.

Presentation by the Provincial Treasury
Mr Malila spoke on the composition of the WCGRB Board in terms of the requirements of the WCGR Act and Regulations. Section 3 of the WCGRA dealt with composition of the Board; Section 4 dealt with eligibility for appointment as member or employee of the Board and Section 5 dealt with disqualification from appointment. Section 3 of the Regulations dealt with nomination of candidates and Section 4 dealt with procedure for appointment. The Department mandated applicants, who stay outside the Western Cape Province to answer certain questions. The Committee is required to consider the responses provided by the applicants in determining their ‘ordinarily resident’ status based on stipulated criteria. The PT is guided by legislation. The criteria for selection include qualification, job and Board experiences, appropriate skills and knowledge. Gender representation and disability were also considered. The CEO of ‘Disability South Africa’ applied, which shows that the vacancies were well-advertised.

Mr Malila said that the WCGRA has no shortlisting criteria. Section 3(2) of the WCGRA provides that “the members of the Board shall be eligible persons who have appropriate knowledge or experience; provided that the appointment to the Board shall be made with consideration to gender representation”. Preference will be given to candidates having appropriate knowledge and experience, gender representation and disability. Four options were considered in the selection process:

- Option 1 considers qualification, job experience, board and governance experience while enhancing female gender, black people and people with disabilities. Thirteen candidates were shortlisted based on this option. People with disability were given one point, while people without disability were given zero. Female applicant scored one, while male scored zero. Applicants with 3-year qualification scored one point, while those with less than 3-year qualification scored zero. Applicants with relevant job experience scored one point, those with irrelevant experience scored zero. Applicants with Board experience scored two points, those without experience scored zero.

- Option 2 considers qualification, job experience, board and governance experience, disability and consolidating advantage given to population group and female gender. Nine candidates were shortlisted based on this option with four females less than Option 1. People with disability were given one point, while people without disability were given zero. Applicants with 3-year qualification scored one point, while those with less than 3-year qualification scored zero. Applicants with relevant job experience scored one point, those with irrelevant experience scored zero. Applicants with Board experience scored two points, those without experience scored zero. Based on representivity, applicants who are female, African, coloured or Indian scored one point, while male white scored zero.

-Option 3 considers qualification, job experience, and board and governance experience. There were four fewer females than Option 1 and there was no one with disability. Applicants with 3-year qualification scored one point, while those with less than 3-year qualification scored zero. Applicants with relevant job experience scored one point, those with irrelevant experience scored zero. Applicants with Board experience scored two points, those without experience scored zero.

-Option 4 considers qualification, job experience, board and governance experience, female gender and people with disabilities. There were additional female compared to Option 1. People with disability were given one point, while people without disability were given zero. Female applicant scored one, while male scored zero. Applicants with 3-year qualification scored one point, while those with less than 3-year qualification scored zero. Applicants with relevant job experience scored one point, those with irrelevant experience scored zero. Applicants with Board experience scored two points, those without experience scored zero.

The Department consulted with legal practitioners regarding the issues of gender representation and disability. The legal advisors told the Department that the procedure did not reflect employment equity. However, the Department acted within legislation to ensure gender representivity and give people with disability more chance to get employed. The Department emphasized qualification, experience, female representivity and racial groupings during the appointment process. There is a provision in the law that at least three candidates must be shortlisted for every vacant position. The Department acted with legislative provision to arrive at the candidates it shortlisted.

Mr Malila said the Provincial Accounting Officer recommended Option 4 for consideration by MEC Ivan Meyer. The Committee was expected to agree to the shortlist and invite suitable candidates for an interview. The Committee should make a recommendation to the Responsible Member for consideration by the Executive Council. Appointment of members to the Board will be made subject to the positive outcome of the probity investigations.

Discussion
The Chairperson sought clarity on Options 1 and 4. What is the difference between them?

Mr Mitchell commended Mr Malila's presentation and spoke in favour of Option 4.

Mr Uys noted that gender representivity and disability were considered in both Options 1 and 4. He said population grouping was not included in Option 4. He proposed that population grouping should be included in Option 4. He sought clarity on why Board experience carries such a high score in Option 1. He noted that overemphasis on Board experience places qualified candidates with no prior experience at a disadvantage. This results in recycling of the same set of people in the Board. This could potentially cause a dearth of innovation within the Board. He suggested that the weight of Board experience should decrease from two to one. In conjunction with population grouping, he believed option 1 is better than option 4.

Mr McKenzie sought clarity on the term 'disability with respect to limp on right leg' as contained on slide 11 of the presentation. 

Response
Mr Malila said he did not know what the term means. However, he believed that the statement referred to the CEO of Disability South Africa, who applied for one of the vacant positions. He agreed that Option 4 excludes racial grouping and prioritises qualification as well as Board experience. He pointed out the overemphasis on Board experience serves to marginalise qualified applicants, who have no Board experience. 

Discussion 
Mr McKenzie, in support of Mr Uys, proposed that Board experience should carry one mark instead of two. This will increase the pool of candidates for the vacant positions. 

The Chairperson asked if the PT considers applicants with informal job experience, for example, self-employed and leaders of NGOs. He believed the PT should look carefully at applicants' CVs in order to give such people a fair chance.

Response
Mr Malila said there were provisions for such people. That was why there is provision for job experience and others. He noted that people with governance and oversight experience are considered. He further agreed that the requirements are twisted in favour of qualification, job and Board experience. The PT then considers gender representivity, disability and other criteria. Option 4 was recommended due to alignment with legislation and it increases the pool of candidates. He noted that candidates such as Croy Kyrlene, Daniels Levona, Nyathi Linda, Williams June and Robert did not have any prior Board experience but managed to have decent scores based on disability and gender representivity. 

Discussion 
Mr Uys said a score of one is appropriate for Board experience. He proposed that population grouping should be considered as part of the final Option as this only account for only 14% of the requirements. 

The Chairperson noted that the new Standing Committee will decide on Mr Uys' proposal during scoring and appointment process. He cautioned that the PT will only get between seven to eight candidates for all vacant positions if the same set of criteria is used. This is in line with Mr McKenzie's observation.

Like Mr Uys, Mr McKenzie insisted that Board experience should carry one mark. Anyone with governance experience, either from listed or non-listed entities, should automatically have one mark. This increases the number of candidates in the pool.

Mr Malila said decreasing the score to one is inconsequential because the overall threshold will also decrease. He, however, said that the PT will consider all concerns raised by Committee Members. He noted that the shortlisting process was tedious. 

Mr Mitchell sought clarity on the selection criteria in terms of Option 1. He noted that qualified candidates may be disqualified based on racial grouping and gender representivity. 

Mr Joseph noted that the minimum requirement is competency. Whoever has the required competency can later be evaluated based on gender and race.

Mr Malila said that the selection criteria were designed to encourage the involvement of people with disability. 

The Chairperson said the role of the current Committee was to consider shortlisted candidates. Further action will be performed by the new Committee. 

Mr Uys reiterated his choice for Option 1 with the inclusion of racial grouping as this forms only 14% of the requirements. 

The Committee accepted Mr Uys' proposal. 

The Chairperson said that the Committee would work on the resolutions and make necessary recommendations to the Minister.

Mr Malila thanked the Committee for its active engagement with the Provincial Treasury. 

The Chairperson thanked the Provincial Treasury for attending the meeting and for broadening the knowledge of the Committee on pertinent issues.

The Committee proposed that there should be, at least, three shortlisted candidates for each position. The new Committee will be responsible for vetting shortlisted candidates. 

Consideration of Minutes
Mr Uys noted a mistake on page 2 in the briefing by the Department of Trade and Industry. The second sentence said that the Bill dealt with transition from the Provincial Racing and Gambling Board. This statement is not correct.  He urged the Committee to correct the mistake. The Department of Trade and Industry also briefed the Committee on the National Gambling Policy Council. The Council can take decisions after the first and second meetings if no arguments occurred. He proposed that an additional paragraph should be inserted after paragraph 2. One paragraph deals with the nomination of National Gambling Regulator and the other will deal with National Gambling Policy Council. The Standing Committee raised the following concerns to the amendments to the Act. What is the cost of the amendments? What are the roles of the Provincial and National regulators? He was concerned that the National regulator may duplicate the role of the Provincial regulator. Also, he expressed concern about the cost of implementing the amendment Bill.

Mr McKenzie wanted to know if there were any arrangements for transport to get participants to the venue of the public hearing.

The Chairperson said the Committee was working with stakeholders to make adequate transport arrangements. He thanked Members for their participation. 

The meeting was adjourned. 

 

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