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ECONOMIC AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE
17 February 2004
NATIONAL GAMBLING BILL: DISCUSSION ON FINAL VERSION; IMPLEMENTATION OF LEGISLATION BY DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY; COMMITTEE REPORT
Chairperson: Mr B J Tolo (ANC)[Mpumalanga)
Documents handed out:
Department's Response to Comments from Provinces on the National Gambling Bill
KwaZulu-Natal Final Mandate
Eastern Cape Final Mandate
National Gambling Bill [B48D-2003]
Overview of DTI Legislation Passed since 1999: Legislative Agenda
Overview of DTI Legislation Passed since 1999: Overview
Committee Report on Limpopo Oversight Visit to Investigate Job Creation and SMMEs issues
The Department of Trade and Industry provided the Committee with response on some of the concerns that were raised by some provinces in their final mandate to the National Gambling Bill. The Committee being satisfied by the Department's explanation unanimously adopted the Bill. The Bill would be tabled on the House for deliberation on 19 February 2004.
The Committee was briefed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the implementation and effect which the legislation that were passed after 1999 had in improving the life of the public. The Committee effected some few technical changes to its report on the Limpopo oversight visit and thereafter unanimously adopted it.
Response of Provinces to the final version of the National Gambling Bill
The Chair noted with appreciation the presence of the NCOP Chief Whip, Mr M Surty. He reminded all present that the process of finalising this Bill had been put on hold as some provinces had complained at the end of last year that they had not had enough time to examine the final version of the Bill. This meeting would allow members to table the response of their provinces to the final version of the Bill.
Eastern Cape: Mr R Nogumla (ANC)[Eastern Cape] pointed out that his Provincial Legislature had raised a number of concerns ranging from constitutional issues, transfer of functions and other technical issues.
Mr M Surty (ANC)[Chief Whip) noted that the concerns raised by the Eastern Cape Legislature seemed to relate to the B48B-2003 version of the Bill as was passed by the National Assembly. He pointed out that the version of the Bill under consideration was B48D -2003 as amended and adopted by this Committee. He proposed that the Committee should keep the Eastern Cape concerns in abeyance and consider the other provinces' responses.
He continued that after the Department had responded to these concerns, the Committee would then be in a position to determine whether these issues were of such a nature that they required further attention. In that case, the Committee could request the Plenary to pass a resolution allowing this Bill to be referred back to it for further consideration.
The Chair accepted this proposal to consider the other provinces' responses first.
Free State: There was no representative from the Free State. The Chair noted that the final mandate from the Free State Provincial Legislature stated that they were in support of the Bill.
Gauteng: Ms D Ramodibe(ANC)[Gauteng] noted that her Provincial Legislature fully supports the Bill.
KwaZulu-Natal: Mr Aulsbrook [KwaZulu-Natal special delegate] noted that while his Provincial Legislature fully supports the Bill, it would like its proposals regarding Clauses 26, 50 and 51 to be registered.
Mpumalanga: Mr B Tolo (ANC)[Mpumalanga) noted that Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature fully supports the Bill.
Northern Cape: The Chair noted that the Committee had not received a final mandate from the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature and also there was no one at the meeting representing the province.
Limpopo: Ms Nkuna (ANC)[Limpopo] noted that her province fully supports the Bill.
North-West: Mr Z Kolweni (ANC)[North-West] noted that his Provincial Legislature fully supports the Bill.
Western Cape: Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC)[Western Cape] noted that her Provincial Legislature fully supports the Bill.
The Chief Whip noted that the majority of provinces fully support the Bill. He said that after the response of the Department to the concerns raised by the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the Committee had the following options: it could either request the Chief Whip to pass a motion referring the Bill back to the Committee for further consideration as there were sufficient ground for that. On the other hand, if it was satisfied with the explanation given by the Department on the concerns raised, it could thus close the matter and pass the Bill.
The Chair called on the Department to address the concerns raised by Eastern Cape and the proposals of KwaZulu-Natal.
Department's Response to Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal
Ms A Ludin (DTI Deputy Director-General: Corporate Consumer Regulation Division) went through the document that the Department had prepared on this matter (see document).
Adv T Majake (National Gambling Board: CEO) noted that as the KZN Provincial Legislature had not given a rationale as to why 26(3)(c) should be deleted, the Board was of the view that this subclause should be retained. He said that the Board's reasoning was that this provision allows for minimum standards to be provided. This would ensure uniformity throughout the country with regard to the evaluation of licence applications for limited pay-out gambling machines.
The Chair said that having heard the Department's comments, he felt that the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal concerns did not warrant a change to the Bill as they were not substantial in nature.
Mr Nogumla of Eastern Cape agreed with the Chair and said that the Department's response was satisfactory. He further noted that as the issues raised by his Provincial Legislature did not necessarily affect the content of the Bill but were still of concern. He would thus appreciate it if the Department could respond to these at a separate meeting.
Mr Aulsbrook, noting the explanation given by the Department and the fact that Clause 26 would not necessarily have an impact on provincial competences, said that his Legislature would support the Bill.
The Chair stated that there was consensus amongst members and thus the Bill could be adopted unanimously.
Overview of DTI Legislation passed since 1999
Ms Ludin pointed out that the document titled "1999 Legislative Agenda" outlined all legislation passed since 1999, their objects and their impact on the lives of the South Africans in general (see document).
She then took the Committee through the document titled "Overview" which explained the rationale for the Department's legislation and policies and the lessons that the Department had learnt during this process between 1999 and 2003 (see document).
The Chair noting that there is R15 billion allocated by government to Black Econoimc Empowerment (BEE) with a view to assisting up and coming businesses. He asked how the Department envisaged the distribution of this money.
Ms Ludin replied to this although she pointed out that she was not the correct person to answer this as BEE did not fall under her portfolio. She said that the real challenge faced by the Department was around implementation and how to monitor such implementation. The Department, in collaboration with National Treasury, was busy trying to figure out a suitable option that should be followed in distributing this. Personally she was of the view that the national route was the most appropriate one and this should be preferred rather than the provincial or local routes.
The Chair noted that the Committee would definitely take up this matter with the relevant portfolio since it was of a crucial nature. He said that during their oversight visit in Limpopo people in the area had raised some concern as they had viewed the whole BEE process as concentrating mostly on urban areas and ignoring people from rural areas. Amongst other things, it had been suggested that this money could best be used as a guarantee fund to assist in cases where people were not able to pay back their business loans.
Ms Ramodibe noted the importance of giving small businesses a voice and asked how far this process was.
Ms Ludin replied that there were institutional changes and arrangements which would be implemented during the course of the year in line with those provisions of the Bill which require the establishment of a council that would serve as the voice for small businesses. Amongst the institutions to be established, would be those which would focus squarely on micro entrepreneurs financing and rural businesses. She added that the roles to be played by Khula and Ntsika in the process have already been reviewed.
The Chair asked how the Department viewed the role played by DTI institutions such as IDC, Ntsika, Khula and the likes. Was the Department satisfied with the impact played by these institutions in the development process?
Ms Ludin replied that while the Department was very proud of its institutions and the role they had played in development process. However DTI also acknowledged the vast need on the ground. Therefore to address to this they continually reviewed the process with the intention of ensuring that they reach a wider number of people, taking into account finances at DTI's disposal.
Ms Nkuna thanked the Department for the overview of its legislative and policy rationale during the period 1999 and 2003.
Report on Oversight Visit to Limpopo to Investigate Job Creation and SMMES issues
The Chair noted that the NCOP Presiding Officers had raised a concern that the Committee was not properly utilising its oversight mandate and the resources allocated for oversight visits.
Ms Nkuna said that the blame for the Committee not conducting any overseas visits and minimal oversight visits this year could be put squarely at the door of the Programme Committee. Their programme was continually being changed by the Programme committee and as the result the whole programme was interrupted.
Ms Ntwanambi agreed and noted that NCOP members serve on several parliamentary committees which makes it difficult for them to engage in oversight visits. This has resulted in their using the constituency period to conduct oversight visits as there was really no time for them to do so when Parliament was in sitting. She appealed that the new Parliament should look at this as a matter of concern.
Mr Kolweni called on all NCOP Committee Chairs to review the whole process bearing in mind that members serving on one committee also serve on other committees as well.
The Chair accepted that there was a need to review the process and he would take up the matter with the Presiding Officers.
The Chair went through the Committee Report on the Limpopo Visit which was unanimously adopted with certain amendments.
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