The Standing Committee met virtually for a briefing by the Provincial Treasury on the process leading to the shortlisting of candidates to fill the vacancies on the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board.
Provincial Treasury reported that there were currently 2 vacancies and a further 2 more at a later stage. Members questioned the legal processes and implications surrounding this and whether the posts would need to be re-advertised. Members also asked about the use of social media in advertising vacancies and whether the application process for vacancies on the Board had been simplified. Given that the application process was cumbersome, Members were informed that candidates often did not re-apply if they were unsuccessful the first time. The Department encouraged the Committee to consider a diverse skills set when looking at candidates. The Committee agreed that it would, at a later stage contemplate future changes to the legislation to allow future Committees to advertise upcoming end of term dates for a smooth transition and hand over from one person to another. The Committee would first obtain a legal opinion on the upcoming vacancies and the implications for this and will then look at ways to allow for an earlier start to advertising vacancies.
The shortlisted applicants were: Mr Terrence Howard, Professor Malcolm Keswell, Mr Clarke Bassaday, Mr Godfrey Baartman, Mr David Lackay, Mr Mervin Burton, Professor Dirk Visser and Ms Ayanda Mavhandaba.
The meeting was closed to the public for the briefing by the Service Provider on the outcomes of the probity assessments on shortlisted candidates to protect their personal information.
The Chairperson made brief opening remarks and asked Members and delegates to introduce themselves.
No apologies were tendered.
Briefing by the Provincial Treasury on the process leading to the shortlisting of candidates to fill the vacancies on the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board
Mr Malcolm Booysen, Senior Manager: Fiscal Policy, Western Cape Provincial Treasury, made a presentation to the Committee on the process for shortlisting candidates to fill vacancies on the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board.
Mr Booysen said there are currently 2 vacancies on the Board and another 2 vacancies arising which poses a challenge as the Board must comprise of 5 Members.
Members of the Board must have appropriate knowledge and experience provided that the appointments take into consideration gender sensitivity.
Section 4 of the Act looks at the eligibility of Members. A Member of the Board will be a natural person, be 25 years or older, and in the case of an employee of the Board, be at the age of 18 years. It is further required that the Board Member must be a citizen of South Africa and a resident of the Western Cape Province.
In terms of sub-regulation D, the Member must be fit and proper as contemplated in terms of Section 28 (A)(i) of the Act.
The person should not be convicted of fraud, theft or forgery, or any offence under the Corruption Act of 1992. The Candidate must not be currently rehabilitated, insolvent or removed from any office on account of misconduct or dishonesty and cannot be a political office bearer.
A person is ineligible for the position where a partner or family member of the Candidate has direct or indirect funding or financial interest in a gambling business or establishment which may conflict or interfere with the performance of duties as a Member of the Board.
Nominations have also been placed on social media at the request of the Committee.
A total of 18 nominations were received. Application forms were then sent to eligible nominees and only 10 applications were returned. The notice calling for public comment on the nominees was placed on 10 and 11 February 2023 in the Provincial Gazette, Die Burger, Weekend Argus and Vukani. No comment was received.
The shortlisting criteria applied relate to gender sensitivity and diversity, particularly relating to academic qualifications and the relevant expertise, industry knowledge, experience, nationality, age and race.
8 applicants have been forwarded by the Standing Committee for consideration. The Accounting Officer must then compile a list of not less than 3 Candidates suitable for appointment.
On the applicants not shortlisted, one applicant indicated that he is ordinarily a resident in Gauteng. One applicant’s probity check found that the applicant was not in good financial standing.
The shortlisted applicants are: Mr Terrence Howard, Professor Malcolm Keswell, Mr Clarke Bassaday, Mr Godfrey Baartman, Mr David Lackay, Mr Mervin Burton, Professor Dirk Visser and Ms Ayanda Mavhandaba.
He emphasised that it was important for the Committee to consider infusing new people into the board and to look at experience and new skills as the board was heavily based with those from accounting and legal professions.
Mr A Van der Westhuizen (DA) said he understood that 2 vacancies needed to be filled and that 2 more will arise at the end of March 2023. Will there have to be a re-advertisement to consider filling the two upcoming vacancies? We will have look at the legislation related to filling these vacancies as it takes quite a while. Even the 5 out of 7 quorum poses a challenge to the board. He asked about the number of vacancies that now needed to be filled and at what stage this could be advertised.
Mr I Sileku (DA) asked if there were any legal implications before the two positions could be filled and whether there was time for the Committee to wait until it received a sufficient amount of applications.
The Chairperson asked for more information on how social media was used, for example, whether there was budget information, if it was a targeted campaign, or simply the Western Cape Government. She asked whether the Department would consider branching out its advertisements to media platforms that look specifically at gambling and betting. On the application process, have any measures been taken to simplify the process as it is quite cumbersome? Given the personal information probity, has there been a decline in people applying due to this?
The Department said 2 vacancies must be filled. In terms of a legal opinion, the positions can only be advertised once a vacancy has arisen. 8 nominations were received and the specific responses were not analysed. This was advertised on LinkedIn and social media. The Department also reached out to potential candidates to see if this would result in a better outcome. The Department has noted that once a person has gone through the process and has been unsuccessful, they are unlikely to go through the process for application again. The Department must consult with the Gambling Board on regulations and what can be done. The National Gambling Act requires that a quorum be 7 Members and there are only 5 Members. The Department will do a Regulatory Impact Assessment which has been targeted for the fourth quarter. The Department remains mindful that it needed to begin processes much earlier and will look into aligning some of the Board Members’ terms. This is quite costly and time consuming.
Ms Shirley Robinson, Chief Director: Public Policy, Western Cape Provincial Treasury, said that to bolster the skills set on the Board, an effort was made to reach out to the economic and academic communities across the Western Cape. She noted that the extent of the application process was incredibly detailed and probing into an applicant’s status. She encouraged Members to consider additional skills of Candidates. The process was started 5 months ago.
Mr Booysen said the Minister was leaning toward appointments being for the maximum period of 4 years as opposed to 3 years.
Mr Van der Westhuizen said the Committee should contemplate future changes to the legislation to allow future Committees to advertise upcoming end of term dates for a smooth transition and hand over from one person to another. He proposed that the Committee first obtain a legal opinion and then look at ways to allow for an earlier start to the process. This has been raised in the past and the Committee should consider this moving forward.
He asked that the meeting be closed on YouTube when the presentation and discussions on the Probity reports take place.
The next item on the agenda, the briefing by the Service Provider on the outcomes of the probity assessments on shortlisted candidates would be dealt with in camera and closed to the public to protect the personal details of those who had been subject to a probity assessment.
The Chairperson supported this.
The meeting was closed to the public.
[Live feed was cut off at this point and did not come back on]
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