The Select Committee was convened virtually to consider the final mandates of provinces for the National Gambling Amendment Bill.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) spoke to the rationale and the background of the Bill, starting from the Wiehahn Commission on the regulation of gambling in 1995 through to the National Gambling Amendment Act of 2018 where the Bill had been at the end of the Fifth Parliament. The Bill was then revived in the Sixth Parliament.
The rationale for the Bill was to provide for the establishment of the National Gambling Regulator; to provide for the procedure for forfeiture of unlawful winnings; to empower the National Gambling Policy Council to make a final binding decision at a second sitting with the majority of members present in that meeting; to extend the National Central Electronic Monitoring System to other modes of gambling; to enhance the powers of the national inspectorate to curb illegal gambling activities; to amend and delete certain definitions; and to provide for the transitional arrangements.
The National Gambling Board (NGB) spoke to gambling statistics from the Regulator’s perspective for the period 2016-2019. The industry was worth around R31 billion, with Gauteng accounting for 40% while the Western Cape and KZN together accounted for 35% of gambling revenue.
The DTI then spoke to the concerns of provinces as raised in the 5th Parliament. These were about corporate governance of the National Gambling Regulator (NGR); that the National Central Electronic Monitoring System (NCEMS) would be extended to all modes of gambling; the amendment empowering the majority of the members present in a second meeting of the National Gambling Policy Council (NGPC) to make a decision if there was no quorum in the first meeting; and the concern on the autonomy and independence of the Provincial Inspectorate.
The final mandates of Provinces for Bill [B27B-2018] were that three provinces voted in support of the Bill, four provinces voted against the Bill and there were two abstentions.
Members said that some mandates were not signed by the Speaker of the legislature while others were not dated and clarity on these issues was needed.
The Parliamentary Procedural Officer said that because of insufficient votes to pass the Bill, it could be referred to the House for further deliberations. The House could then reject or approve the Bill or approve a bill with amendments.
A report would be drafted for the consideration of the Committee at the next meeting.
A moment of silence was held in respect of the passing away of Adv H Mohamed (ANC MP) and the Chairperson’s secretary’s mother.
The Chairperson asked the DTI to give a brief overview of events relating to the bill leading up to this point.
Dr Evelyn Masotja, Deputy Director-General: Consumer and Corporate Regulation, DTI, reviewed what the Bill was about and what the outcomes about them were.
She spoke to the rationale and the background of the Bill starting from the Wiehahn Commission on the regulation of gambling in 1995 through the National Gambling Act of 1996 the 2004 National Gambling Act, the 2008 National Gambling Amendment Act, the Gambling review Commission report of 2010 to the National Gambling Amendment Act of 2018 where the Bill had been at the end of the fifth Parliament. The Bill was then revived in the sixth Parliament.
The principles established by the Wiehahn Commission still remained the yardstick for gambling policy. These were namely the limitation of gambling opportunities, the protection of players and the integrity and fairness of the industry through strict control and supervision of the industry, uniformity and harmonisation of policy and legislation at all levels of Government, the generation of revenue and taxes, the economic empowerment of the historically disadvantaged, and the promotion of economic growth, development and employment.
The rationale for the Bill was to provide for the establishment of the National Gambling Regulator led by a CEO as accounting authority; to provide for the procedure for forfeiture of unlawful winnings; to empower the National Gambling Policy Council to make a final decision at a second sitting with the majority of members present in that meeting; to extend the National Central Electronic Monitoring System to other modes of
Gambling; to enhance the powers of the national inspectorate to curb illegal gambling activities; to amend and delete certain definitions; and to provide for the transitional arrangements.
Ms Carolyn Kongwa, Administrator of the National Gambling Board (NGB), spoke to gambling statistics from the Regulator’s perspective for the period 2016-2019. The average gross gambling revenue growth in casinos was 2%, in betting it was 18%, in bingo it was 26.6%, and in Limited Payout Machines (LPM) it was 12.9%. Overall growth was 12.1%. She said the industry was worth around R31 billion, with total taxes collected from gambling being R3.2 billion in 2019/20. Looking at a breakdown per province, Gauteng accounted for 40%, the Western Cape for 18.1%, and KZN for 17.6%.
Dr Masotja then spoke to the concerns of provinces as raised in the Fifth Parliament. One concern was the establishment of a National Gambling Regulator (NGR) without a board structure leading to concerns about corporate governance.
She said the NGR was established like other DTI entities that operated successfully without boards such as the National Credit Regulator (NCR). She said there had been a board before, but the board was removed. The NGB had been successfully run for the past six years by an Administrator.
Another concern was the National Central Electronic Monitoring System (NCEMS) which monitored LPMs would be extended to all modes of gambling.
She said the extension to other modes of gambling was to consolidate all legal modes of gambling. The NGB had exclusive mandate over NCEMS and the need for monitoring was mainly based on the need for oversight control.
Another concern was that most provinces opposed the amendment empowering the majority of the members present in the second meeting of the National Gambling Policy Council (NGPC) to make a decision if in the first meeting there was no quorum. She said the National Gambling Policy Council had struggled to get quorums for its meeting which was a challenge for many years. The other issues were empowerment and the Department’s inability to set policy or set norms and standards in the vacuum created by the lack of meetings by the Council. The Bill would address the lack of quorum issue.
There were also concerns raised over the National Inspectorate because it would infringe on the autonomy and independence of the Provincial Inspectorate.
Consideration of Final Mandates of the National Gambling Amendment Bill
The final mandates of provinces for Bill [B27B-2018] were:
The Chairperson read out the Eastern Cape mandate which was that it did not support the Bill, so abstained from voting
Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) said the Free State province was against the Bill
Mr M Dangor (ANC, Gauteng) said Gauteng province was against the Bill
Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) said KwaZulu-Natal province had decided to abstain from voting
Mr S Selamolela (MPL in the Limpopo Legislature) said the Limpopo province was in favour of the Bill
Ms M Latchminarain (MPL in the Mpumalanga Legislature) was in favour of the Bill
Mr M Mmoiemang (ANC, Northern Cape) said the Northern Cape province was in support of the Bill
Mr J Londt (DA, Western Cape) read out the North West mandate which was that the North West Province was against the Bill
Mr Londt said the Western Cape province did not support the Bill.
The Committee Content Advisor summarised that there were two abstentions, four against and three provinces in support of the Bill.
The Chairperson went over the NCOP Rules, specifically rule 155(2), which dealt with a Section 76 Bill. He said that the rules indicated that Committee Members of five provinces had to be present and at least five provinces be in support of a Bill for it to pass. The meeting had the requirement of Committee Members present but the support for the Bill was less than the five required for it to pass.
Mr Mmoeimang said that mandates were not signed by the Speaker of the legislature while others were not dated and he needed clarity on these issues.
Mr Dangor said the Gauteng document was signed but not dated.
On the dating and signing of mandates, Ms Shamara Ally, Parliamentary Procedural Officer, said this could be noted as technical amendments and could be rectified. However, she was more concerned that the North West mandate was signed by the Chairperson and not the Speaker, as this was a legislative requirement and the Committee needed to take a decision on this matter on whether to refer this back to the province or consider the matter now as the final mandate.
On the number of mandates not being sufficient to vote in favour or against the Bill, she said that because of insufficient votes, the Bill could be referred to the House for further deliberations. The House could then reject or approve the Bill or approve a bill with amendments.
Adv Frank Jenkins, Senior Parliamentary Legal Advisor, said that three provinces voted in favour of the question. This must be reported so the question was rejected.
He said that if mandates needed to be tightened up, it should be done and then submitted to the House, the House could then reject the report and the Bill would be back to zero as it was a Section 76 Bill.
The Chairperson said the staff would draft a Committee Report with the assistance of the legal advisors and the Committee would convene later to adopt a Report which would go to the House.
Mr Londt said the wording that should be used in the draft Report should be that the Committee did not support the Bill and that the majority of provinces rejected the Bill.
The Chairperson said the issue of a majority occurred only when dealing with Section 75 Bill. Under a Section 76 Bill, one had to have five provinces supporting a Bill, it was not about a majority and were it to be a constitutional amendment, the requirement increased to six provinces supporting the amendment.
Mr Londt said that both Adv Jenkins and Ms Ally had indicated that there was not sufficient support for the Bill.
Mr Mmoeimang said the legal people had correctly captured what was presented. He agreed with the Chairperson’s proposal on the way forward.
Mr Brauteseth said the salient point was that only three out of the nine provinces supported the Bill.
The Chairperson said the Committee would wait for the draft Report for further Committee deliberation to take place.
Ms Masotja acknowledged the process and said that they would be guided once the Committee Report was concluded.
The meeting adjourned
- North West Final Mandate NGAB
- DTIC: Consideration of Final Mandates on the National Gambling Amendment Bill [B27B-2018]
- Western Cape Final Mandate NGAB
- Northern Cape Final Mandate NGAB
- Mpumalanga Final Mandate NGAB
- Limpopo Final Mandate NGAB
- KwaZulu Natal Final Mandate NGAB
- Gauteng Final Mandate NGAB
- Free State Final Mandate NGAB
- Eastern Cape Final Mandate NGAB
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