National Gambling Bill [B27B-2018]: briefing

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Meeting Summary

The Select Committee met for a briefing on the National Gambling Amendment Bill by the Department of Trade and Industry.

The National Gambling Amendment Bill had not been passed during the Fifth Parliament, even though it had gone through all the necessary processes. As the Bill was not finalised by the time of the dissolution of the Fifth Parliament, it lapsed as per the Rules of Parliament. When the final mandates arrived from the provinces, three provinces were against the Bill, two provinces in favour of the Bill and one province abstained. At the very last minute, a further two voting mandates in favour of the Bill was received. However, as there was not a clear position, the then Committee was unable to take a position and the House was unable to adopt the Committee Report on the Bill. It was an unprecedented situation, never before encountered in the National Council of Provinces. Before the Bill could be passed, the Fifth Term of Parliament had come to an end.

The new Committee was commencing the process of reviving the National Gambling Amendment Bill. As it was a Section 76 Bill, the entire process would have to be followed again including briefings in Parliament and provincial legislatures, public hearings in Parliament and in the provinces, as well as all other legislative processes.

The Department of Trade and Industry provided a detailed background of the gambling industry in South Africa and briefed the Committee on the rationale for the Bill, noting the need for a procedure for forfeiture of unlawful winnings and a mechanism for addressing the consistent lack of a quorum at the National Gambling Policy Council. The Bill would provide for the establishment of the National Gambling Regulator led by a CEO as the Accounting Authority. There was a need to extend the National Central Electronic Monitoring System to other modes of gambling and to enhance the powers of the national inspectorate to curb illegal gambling activities, as well as other administrative matters. The Bill was seen as an opportunity to strengthen efficiency of administration of the gambling industry and to strengthen the working relationship between the proposed National Gambling Regulator and the provinces.

Members asked about the substance of the objections raised previously by the provinces, particularly those with metros that had voted against the Bill. Could the NCEMS and its powers of information be the reason why the provinces were unhappy? Was the Bill not setting the scene for the CEO of the National Gambling Regulator to become more powerful than the Minster and the Council? How would the National Gambling Regulator exercise oversight if the Regulator had no powers as a licensing authority?

Why had the National Gambling Board been under Administration and why had it lasted so long? What was being done about online gambling to protect South Africans as people were gambling their last bit of money instead of spending it on their families? If there was going to be a National Gambling Regulator, should the Lottery Board and the National Gambling Board not fall under one Regulator? Where did the R30 billion gambling revenue go to? Were there any forms of counselling for gambling? Were the norms and standards different for every province or were there national norms and standards? How many members of the inspectorate were there or was that a provincial competency? How were the powers of the inspectorate to be enhanced?

Members also asked for clarity about the non-promulgation of the 2018 National Gambling Act. What checks were conducted to ensure the CEO was a fit and proper person? How much did the banks collect as a result of illegal gambling?

The situation had changed since the Chairperson had called the meeting to revive the Bill. Despite receiving assurances from the top structure in the National Council of Provinces that he should proceed with the revival of the Bill, late the previous week, Parliamentary Legal Services had advised the NCOP that the Bill should not be taken forward at that stage. As the stakeholders had already been invited, the briefing today would go ahead as it would still be relevant, even as the technical processes were addressed and procedures might change.  However, in the light of the instruction from Legal Services, the Committee would not advertise the public hearings until the technical issues had been addressed.

The matter of the revival of Bills was being handled by the Secretaries of both Houses of Parliament.

Meeting report

Opening remarks

The Chairperson announced that the Committee would be dealing with the National Gambling Amendment Bill. He requested that, when the Committee was dealing with Section 76 Bills, all Parliamentary Liaison Officers from the provinces should attend the meeting.

The Chairperson provided some background information. The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) had, in the previous term, briefed the then Select Committee of Trade and Industry and International Relations. The Rules Committee had determined that, in the Sixth Parliament, the Committee would deal with Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour so it was very much a new Committee. The sister Select Committee was Infrastructure, Public Works, Transport and Public Service Administration.

The Chairperson explained the Department briefed the then Select Committee on Trade and Industry and International Relations on the National Gambling Amendment Bill. The Bill then went through the normal lawmaking processes: there was a briefing with the then Committee and those Members, together with the Department, briefed the provinces. Parliament and the provinces advertised and held public hearings and then the provinces had conferred their negotiating mandates. The next stage was the final mandates. During that stage, three provinces were against the Bill, two provinces were in favour and one province abstained. As there was not a clear position from the provinces, the Committee could not take a position. Before the Committee went to plenary, it received last-minute voting mandates from North West and Free State in favour of the Bill.

It was an unprecedented situation since 1994 and so the Committee had to consult the leadership in the NCOP: the Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson, the Chief Whip, the Administration, and Advocate Phindela. The Committee had taken the Report to the House but as the Committee had not taken a position, the House could not adopt the Report. Before the Bill could be passed, the Fifth Term of Parliament came to an end.

In the Sixth Term, a Management Committee meeting was held but the Legal Advisors were not available to assist. However, the Committee was assisted by Ms Allie from the Procedural Unit with regard to the way forward and the Committee decided to start the whole process afresh. The Committee would get a briefing from the dti, public hearings would be held in Parliament and the provinces and then the whole process of negotiating mandates and then final mandates would be necessary. The Chairperson and Mr T Matibe (ANC; Limpopo) were the only two Members who had been in that Committee in the Fifth Parliament. Many Committee Members were new and, in the provinces, there were new Speakers and new chairpersons of the Legislature Economic Development Committees and so it would be a good thing for everyone to become familiar with the Bill. Unfortunately, the new chairpersons of provincial committees had not been informed of the meeting that day.

For the very first time, three provinces had not had a clear position: one abstained and three opposed the Bill. It was interesting that the provinces with metros - KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Western Cape – were the ones that had opposed the Bill. The Eastern Cape had abstained.

The Chairperson handed over to the dti for the presentation on the Bill.

Presentation by the DTI

Dr Shandokane Evelyn Masotja, Deputy Director-General: Consumer and Corporate Regulation Division at dti, thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to present the National Gambling Amendment Bill.

Dr Masotja provided a detailed background of the gambling industry in South Africa from 1985 when the Wiehan Commission set principles which became the yardstick for the national gambling policy as enshrined in the Act.

The rationale of the Bill was to:

  • Provide for the establishment of the National Gambling Regulator led by a CEO as Accounting Authority;
  • Provide for the procedure for forfeiture of unlawful winnings;
  • Empower the National Gambling Policy Council (NGPC) to make a final decision at a second sitting with the majority of members present in that meeting;
  • Extend the National Central Electronic Monitoring System (NCEMS) to other modes of gambling;
  • Enhance the powers of the national inspectorate to curb illegal gambling activities;
  • Amend and delete certain definitions; and
  • Provide for the transitional arrangements.

Dr Masotja said the Bill was seen as an opportunity to strengthen efficiency of administration of the gambling industry and to strengthen the working relationship between the proposed National Gambling Regulator and the provinces.

Discussion

Ms M Moshodi (ANC; Free State) asked if the legal team could address the Committee about the Bill as the Committee would be dealing with the Bill for a second time. She also wanted to know what would happen when Members went to their provinces.

The Chairperson informed Ms Moshodi that he wished to address the process after questions were addressed. For the moment, Members were to focus on the Bill.

Mr M Mmoeimang (ANC; Northern Cape) asked about the substance of objections raised by the provinces with metros because he did not want to make assumptions. Could the NCEMS and its powers of information be the reason why the provinces were unhappy? Had they seen it as an invasion of their spaces and functions? He noted the objection raised around quorum in the National Gambling Policy Council and the Board as a motivation, but was it not a matter that the Committee could take up with the Minister and MECs in terms of correcting that scenario. If anything went wrong in the provinces, they would expect the Minister to account, and not the Regulator. The Committee needed to find a way of strengthening that level of governance.

Mr Mmoeimang pointed out there was a concern in the country about the massive powers that the CEOs of enterprises had which meant Ministers had little power. Was the Bill not setting the scene for the CEO to become more powerful than the Minster and the Council? Lastly, the matter of the licensing authority in the province would be outside the scope of the National Gambling Regulator (NGR). How would the NGR exercise oversight if the Regulator had no powers as a licensing authority because the licensing authority lay squarely with the provinces?

Ms S Boshoff (DA; Mpumalanga) stated that she was new to the Committee and, after reading up on the Bill, she had more questions than answers. Why was the NGB under Administration for so long? What was being done to deal with online gambling to protect South Africans as people were gambling their last bit of money instead of spending it on their families? If there was going to be an NGR, should the Lottery Board and the National Gambling Board not fall under one Regulator? And should it not be applicable to all gambling authorities? How was the R30 billion gambling revenue distributed? Where did it go to? Were there any forms of counselling for gambling? Where were they situated and how could people access them? Were the norms and standards different for every province or were there national norms and standards?

Ms Boshoff noted the Provincial Licencing Authorities, manufacturers and operators were subjected to intelligence but asked if they were vetted. How many members of the inspectorate were there or was it a provincial competency? How were the powers of the inspectorate to be enhanced?

Ms B Mathevula (EFF; Limpopo) asked about the processes that would be followed in appointing a CEO. How did dti ensure the CEO was a fit and proper person? How much did the banks collect in unlawful winnings?

Mr T Apleni (EFF; Eastern Cape) stated that his concern was the powers being taken away from provinces, which might have been the reason for provinces rejecting the Bill. He was concerned about powers being centralised or vested somewhere else other than in provinces where the gambling licensees operated. As with Ms Moshodi, he also wanted legal advice so that everyone was on the same page. Why had the National Gambling Board been put under administration?

Mr M Dangor (ANC; Gauteng) raised the question of competency and responsibility between provinces and national and that there could be a problem of constitutionality if the Bill went forward in that direction. The question of process became important but for the rest, he was covered.

The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to forward to the Members all the documents regarding the processes embarked upon previously in respect of the National Gambling Amendment Bill, including the public hearings, the responses by departments, discussion by Members, etc. and whatever information she had from the provinces, including the negotiating and final mandates, as well as minutes of the meetings. That would give Members a good picture of the processes that had already taken place. It would be like taking a second bite of the Bill. He thought that maybe new stakeholders would also be making statements. He would discuss the process after the question and answer sessions.

Ms Boshoff noted that the Chairperson had mentioned new stakeholders. If the entire process was to be opened, would the Members be informed so that they could tell people that the process had been re-opened?

The Chairperson said that normally the Committee would receive a briefing by Department and then the Committee would advertise for submissions for two weeks. The Committee would then decide whether to engage with written responses or to invite stakeholders to present orally. After that the Department would respond. Members then had to go back to provinces for a briefing. Legislatures would have public hearings and then the provincial committees would sit and the negotiating mandate would be forwarded to the Select Committee, which would discuss the negotiating mandates. The Committee would wait for final mandates and then send a report to the House, dependent on the number of positive and negative votes.

Mr Mmoeimang asked for clarity about the non-promulgation of the 2008 National Gambling Act. He noted that a stakeholder had raised that question and he, too, would like to know why the Act was not promulgated.

Responses by DTI and the NGB Administrator

Dr Masotja informed the Committee that the high level objections to the Bill included concerns around NCEMS. Provinces had resisted interference by the Regulator and were concerned the Regulator might be trying to make money out of the process. The matter of quorum was a big problem. Provinces suggested problems with the Council could be resolved by using the round robin approach or that the Minister should resolve the problem by discussing it with the MECs. Some suggested disbandment of the Council, which would not have been easy given that the Council was a legislated structure. There was also concern that strengthening the Regulator, especially by strengthening the inspectorate, would result in interference and a duplication of efforts. A Regulator instead of a Board created a corporate governance concern and stakeholders wanted to know who would be overseeing that individual.

Dr Masotja stated that the initial Bill was comprehensive but had been scoped down to focus on key matters of functionality. Some stakeholders wanted the entire Bill redone and there were suggestions that the Bill should address online gambling. There were also questions as to why the National Gambling Act of 2008 was that not being repealed as it had not been promulgated.

Dr Masotja explained the National Gambling Board or Regulator was a statutory entity whereas the Council was chaired by the Minister and attended by MECs of provinces and provincial licensing authorities (PLAs). The CEO or Regulator would not have the powers of the Council and would have to bring recommendations to the Council when there was a need to align laws in the different provinces and so. The CEO would not have such big powers as the Regulator would recommend and propose, and the Council would agree or not after engagement with the Regulator.

She added the NGR would not be a licensing authority but the Regulator would have powers of oversight to ensure harmonisation and efficiency in the gambling industry. Provinces would remain the licensing authorities with the power to licence gambling activities in the provinces. Constitutionally it would not be possible to remove the licensing authority from the provinces

Dr Masotja addressed the question of the Administration of the NGB. There were challenges regarding the floundering of corporate governance in the Board. The matters were investigated and eventually the Board was placed under administration. dti expected the amendment of the necessary legislation to be a much quicker process than it had turned out to be. The Council had not engaged with the Bill and the proposed NGR and appointment of a CEO because of the lack of quorum at meetings. That meant the NGPC added to the delays because consultation was not possible. Consequently, a harmonious position could not be reached with provinces in respect of the Bill.

Dr Masotja agreed that although online gambling was prohibited in the country, it was still a huge problem. One of the measures to prevent online gambling was that the proceeds of unlawful online gambling should be forfeited and banks were forbidden to give illegal gamblers access to their winnings. dti agreed there was proliferation of online gambling, especially in places like internet cafes, etc.

Dr Masotja explained the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) was a national competence and not a provincial function, which made the proposed merger difficult. A merger was proposed and dti was currently studying its impact but it was not a proposal currently on the table. It was, nevertheless, an important matter that had to be considered.

Provincial licensing authorities operated in terms of the relevant provincial legislation. Dr Masotja explained that there was not a single approach to the granting of licences although there was a national approach to racing. Government needed to ensure that social considerations were taken into account when licences were granted. For example, one province might want to pursue dog racing because of the income generated as sometimes income did outweigh the social consideration of the gambling activity.

Problem gambling was addressed by the National Responsible Gambling Programme. It was not a dti programme but the Department was looking at enhancing the Programme as opportunities for gambling were growing.

Dr Masotja assured the Committee that dti applied the various legislative requirements when appointing CEOs for its entities and ensured there were proper checks and balances in place so that CEOs were proper and fit for appointment and to ensure CEOs were properly appointed.

dti believed that, after Members read the documents to be distributed by the Committee Secretary, Members would see powers of the provinces were not changed by the Bill and the NGR would not be taking away powers, but would focus on oversight and creation of national norms and standards. Dti acknowledged the autonomy of the provinces in respect of gambling practices.

Dr Masotja stated that the information provided through NCEMS would have more integrity than information collected from the industry. Other role-players would also benefit from that credible information obtained from a position of neutral oversight. Provinces had different priorities and it was good to have efficiencies from a national system.

Ms Boshoff asked for list of acronyms, especially for new Members, as it was very confusing.

Ms Mathevula clarified her question on financial institutions by referring the Department to a slide in the presentation.  

Mr Dangor asked that if online gambling was permitted, how would that revenue be collected and spent.

Mr Apleni said he had become confused because Dr Masotja spoke about the Board that was under Administration and then she had spoken of the Board that had been dissolved. Were they the same people?

The Chairperson confirmed it was the same people (entity) because when the Board had governance problems, it was dissolved and an Administrator was appointed.

Dr Masotja clarified that the Board was dissolved and it was then placed under Administration to handle the situation until the legislation had handled governance matters. The actions were consequential.

The Chairperson explained there were other entities that operated better under a CEO than they had done under Boards. dti was proposing best practice by proposing that the Board be replaced by a Regulator.

The Chairperson added that when other people accompanying Dr Masotja responded, it was because they were part of the dti team.

Dr Masotja clarified that banks were very important in the gambling regulatory environment because transactions happened through the banks. The inspector could alert financial institutions that illegal activities were taking place and if a bank was aware of an illegal activity, it was compelled by law to stop the funds. The amendment in the Bill was to give the inspectorate the powers to communicate that information to the banks as that would strengthen the forfeiture of illicit winnings. Also the process would be changed so that no court process would be necessary when winnings were forfeited.

She added that currently, online gambling was not allowed in the country. If there was a move towards that debate, there would have to be a discussion and dti would have to look at the necessary mechanism. There was a view that online gambling would not have the same impact as other forms of gambling but there would have to be a policy decision to allow online gambling before dti could engage with the necessary mechanisms, etc.

Dr Masotja explained that after the Gambling Act of 2008, which permitted online gambling, was passed and dti was working on the accompanying regulations, there were concerns in Parliament about the proliferation of online gambling and mechanisms to control online gambling. Parliament had subsequently decided not to proceed with the legislation and dti was requested to undertake a review of gambling in the country. The Gambling Review Commission was instituted and its Report of 2010 had recommended policy reforms.

Ms Caroline Kongwa, Administrator, NGB, stated that she would respond from an implementation point of view. In terms of gambling regulation, the NGB worked with dti and the Minister. All powers relating to determining which mode of gambling was regulated and the maximum number of licences per province, were vested in the Minister of Trade and Industry; provinces administered the licencing process and undertook enforcement. The NGB simply had the function of overseeing gambling in the country.

Ms Kongwa explained how that was done - when the Minister permitted a mode of gambling, he set a maximum number of licences. The NGB ensured that provinces adhered to the norms and standards in the National Gambling Act and direction the Minister gave in terms of regulation. The NGB oversaw casinos, limited pay-out machines, bingo machines and the betting sectors. From a licensing perspective, the NGB had to conduct audits to ensure licences rolled out by provinces were within limits set by the Minister. The NGB, or the envisaged NGR, reported to and acted within the instruction of the Minister. If a province was found to have contravened any matter in terms of the parameters of the Minister, the CEO or Minister would have to take the matter to the Council which was a ‘MINMEC’ set up to deal with gambling and liquor matters. The Council was set up in that way because in some provinces, the same board managed both gambling and liquor. Gambling was a concurrent competence but the roles for national and provinces were clearly delineated.

Ms Kongwa stated that the NGB would have been under Administration for five years in September 2019. She was overseeing the NGB in that time and was waiting for the Gambling Bill to be passed. In terms of the Constitution, all lottery matters were excluded from application of the National Gambling Act. The stakeholders who raised the matter suggested there was an overlap between the NGB and the National Lotteries Commission. It was a matter of legal definition and how certain matters in the betting industry were handled. Consideration would also have to be given to the fact that revenue from the lottery went to good causes. The R30 billion gross revenue derived from gambling was profit before tax to the operators of the gambling activities. That was what created the economic viability of the sector and the creation of jobs. The activities of the gambling industry also overlapped with the hospitality and tourism industry which also contributed to the economy and job creation. 10%, or R3.1 billion, was collected in taxes by the provinces. That would have to be taken into consideration. Would the profits from gambling go to good causes? The economic viability of the gambling sector would have to be considered.

Ms Kongwa noted the link to the questions on online gambling and the Private Member’s Bill. One of the questions at the time was whether, if legalised, online gambling would take the country further in respect of economic imperatives of each province, but the proposal at that time was that revenue would flow to the NGB. Currently, tax was imposed according to where operator was based which was where the gambling happened but online gambling was not residency-based. One would have no idea where people were when they gambled and the province could not tie tax to a gambler. A national collection and a revenue-sharing model could be considered. All of that information was presented to Parliament.

Ms Kongwa stated there were two main models for the treatment and counselling for gambling. One model was where the state took responsibility to fund the treatment and counselling and the second was that it was funded by the operators of the gambling activities. SA adopted the second mode and the funds for treatment became a compulsory deduction of 0.1% of the profit made by gambling operators/licensees. The SA National Responsible Gambling Foundation, a non-profit organisation, managed the services. Four provinces and a representative of the gambling industry sat on the board to oversee the funding. Counselling and treatment was provided free of charge to problem gamblers. A call-in service was also provided free of charge. The state considered taking on the responsibility for funding those rehabilitation services in the 2008 Act but that idea fell away when the Bill was reduced in scope.

Ms Kongwa stated there were national norms and standards that the NGB would monitor and measure each province for the sake of national conformity. When keeping within norms and standards, there was no problem for provinces but it was very difficult to manage national uniformity and consistency because of the dysfunctionality of the Policy Council. The NGB was unable to table, through the Minister, matter relating to norms and standards.

Ms Kongwa explained, in relation to vetting of the gambling industry, that section 50 of the National Gambling Act dealt with probity. Each provincial gambling authority was required to probe each individual and company working in the gambling industry. There was a key employee license that was granted to an individual working in the industry as well as a licence for every operator. They all went through probity to obtain a licence and had to go through probity every year to renew their license annually. The PLA could then check that they had not contravened the disqualification clause. The NGB had a national inspectorate but the NGB could inspect only on invitation of a province. That was a problem. The NGB was trying to complement the PLA because the NGA had to address complaints from the SA Police Service (SAPS) or punters who were not satisfied with an investigation. Further, operators were operating in more than one province and so it did not help if only one province invited the NGB to intervene in respect of a particular operator. The model was working, with some limitations. Under new provisions, the NGB would have to give a PLA notice of an intention to inspect. Ms Kongwa assured Members that the NGB had a good relationship with all PLAs.

Regarding the bank deductions referred to in the presentation, Ms Kongwa explained the intention was to enhance the current NGB powers. Section 16 of the NGA states that any person who knowingly is to pay an individual for any illegal gambling activity should not pay those monies but hand those monies over to the NGB. The illegality was investigated and the monies were forfeited to the state. Sometimes the amount forfeited was only R500 but there was a cost burden of tens of thousands of Rand on the state to take the matter to court, as required in the current legislation. That was why the Bill would allow automatic forfeiture and eliminate the need to take such cases to court.

Ms Kongwa assured the Committee that the Bill was not taking away powers but supplementing and complementing gambling boards. For example, some provinces had only one inspector, whereas NGB had five inspectors. When illegal gambling was found, the matter was handed over to SAPS and to other key stakeholders in the chain to secure a conviction.

Ms Kongwa spoke of the powers with regards to the NCEMS. It was, as Dr Masotja explained, a national competency. It was not interference or overlap as none of the PLAs had the power to impose a monitoring system on operators. Each operator had to have its own electronic monitoring system that, at all times, checked that its own machines were operational. The NCEMS currently monitored gambling across the country at the same time and identified the revenue that went into the system. NGB was sure of the revenue collected as it could see the pay-out machines. For provinces to determine tax, each province had to go to each establishment to check how much revenue had gone into the system before determining the tax liable by each operator. NGB did not believe that government’s tax should be based on the operator’s system. The NCEMS would enable provinces to determine all monies collected and consequently, taxes due, without going to the operators. NCEMS had been in place in the Limited Pay-out Machine industry for 19 years and the NGB was fully accountable for all activities in that industry. The Bill intended extending the monitoring of revenue to other modes of gambling.

The Chairperson invited the Adv Frank Jenkins, from the parliamentary Constitutional and Legal Services Office, to give input, but he did not have any specific comments on the Bill. He had assisted with the previous Bill but he understood that the process was beginning afresh.

The Chairperson welcomed the Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour, Ms Boitumelo Moloi, the Director-General and officials from the Department of Employment and Labour who had arrived for the next meeting.

The Chairperson indicated that he had waited for them before going through the process applicable to the National Gambling Amendment Bill as the same process would apply to the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill. 

The Chairperson admitted to being a bit frustrated as a Chairperson in respect of the matter on the table. He recounted how, after the first meeting of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour and the Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure in the NCOP, where he and Mr Mmoeimang were elected Chairpersons of the respective Committees, they had decided to hold joint Management Committee meetings with the Chairpersons and Whips.

Mr E Landsman (ANC, North West) asked that it be recorded that he was not informed that he was a Whip at that stage and so had not attended the meeting.

The Chairperson noted his point. He stated the meeting discussed the Committee Programmes. It was only his Committee that would be involved in budget debates and by the end of July, the Committee would be finished with appropriation. The Management Committeealso discussed the Bills and the process regarding reviving Bills. As he was unsure of the process being a second time for the same Bill. Legal Services was asked to advise but the Legal Advisors were on leave.

Ms Allie from the Procedural Unit advised the Management Committee to start the process of considering the Bills afresh. As the National Gambling Amendment Bill was a Section 76 Bill, the Management Committee felt the entire process should be followed, including public hearing in Parliament and in the provinces, as well as all the legislative processes in the provinces. The Secretary of the NCOP, Adv Phindela, agreed with the process. The full programme of activities, including those relating to the Bill, went to the House Chairperson on Programming and were approved by the Programme Committee. The Chairperson of the NCOP, the Whips and other units in Parliament had no objection to the programme to start the Bill afresh. No one had told him that the Bills should not be revived. The Committee had then informed stakeholders of the meeting today.

Late on Thursday, the previous week, Parliamentary Legal Services advised the NCOP that the Bill should not be taken forward at that stage. However, he, as the Chairperson, decided to hold the presentations as the stakeholders had already been invited. Even as other technical processes were addressed, and even if the procedure was changed, the briefings would have been held and would still be relevant. However, in the light of the instruction from Legal Services, the Committee would not advertise the public hearings until the technical matter were addressed. The matter of revival was being handled by both Houses of Parliament. Once the process was revived, the Committee would take it from there. He would request a meeting with the leadership so that there was clarity on the way forward. Other Committees would also need clarity in terms of dealing with legislation.

Adv Jenkins agreed with the Chairperson’s approach. The revival of Bills was being dealt with by the Secretaries of the National Assembly and the NCOP and it was at that level where the matter would be resolved. He agreed the matter should be held in abeyance until there was a resolution of the situation.

Closing remarks

The Chairperson noted the meeting agreed no decisions would be made regarding the next move until there was clarity from the Secretary of the NCOP as to the way forward.

Ms Moshodi asked the Chairperson to ensure the Legal Advisor of Parliament led the Committee in matters relating to legislation even before a briefing was held.

The Chairperson informed dti that the Department would be informed as to when the briefings would be held in the provinces. He thanked the team for briefing the Committee on the National Gambling Amendment Bill.

The meeting was adjourned.

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