Durban - Premier of KwaZulu Natal Mr Willies Mchunu today announced new members of the KwaZulu Natal Gambling and Betting Board resolving a long-standing matter that had brought instability in the management of gambling in the province.
Premier Mchunu said government was happy the matter had been resolved.
“I would like firstly to congratulate you all collectively and also to thank you for having accepted to take your places as member of the KwaZulu Natal Gaming and Betting Board. Members of the public have confidence in you and you cannot disappoint them,” Premier Mchunu told the new nine member board.
The board has been appointed following a lengthy process involving input from members of the public and the provincial executive committee of the province. The current board is new, emerging from a tumultuous history of the previous board.
Premier Mchunu said the matter of the provincial gambling authority had been one of the most troubling issues he has had to deal with since assuming office in 2016.
“Even though I believe that boards must have sustainability, continuity and institutional memory, the history of this board made it difficult if not impossible to continue as normal,” said Premier Mchunu.
“My first major task, three days in fact in my role as Premier I had to learn that dealing with the Gaming and Betting Boardwas urgent but that it was also going to be one of the most challenging. I take it as normal that as part of the Constitutional system that government goes to court from time to time. I soon discovered however that unlike many others, this was going to be a very difficult matter. It was my task to untangle this mess so I gave in my personal attention by moving it into my office. This is what we are finalising today,” said Premier Mchunu.
Premier Mchunu said the board should conduct itself as an independent authority, responsible only to the Act. “We will make sure that the executive authority stays out of mattes of the Board. Consultation with the executive does not take away the fact that you as the Board are ultimately responsible for the work of the Board.”
The Board would be implementing the new act that came into effect last year. “Do not lose sight of the principles such as conducting matters of the Board with absolute integrity. There must be no question,” said Premier Mchunu. The Board must also ensure that the public interest is not harmed.
“We think the gaming and betting industry can be a major catalyst for economic development, promoting tourism and employment. Do not lose sight of one other Act which with good reason has been passed by our government and that is the Broad Based Black Empowerment Act.
“It is my duty to remind you that our history has left a major part of our population out of virtually everything from socialto economic empowerment. Your task is to increase the ownership stake of the historically disadvantaged. We have to move radically to include our people, otherwise in the long term we are stoking the fires of instability if we do not address the economic dividend for the majority.
“This does not mean that we should encourage lawlessness by mafias that are invading businesses as we have recently seen around the province. We will not tolerate lawlessness at all,whether this is done in the name of radical socio economic transformation or anything else,” said Premier Mchunu.
Premier Mchunu also called on the Board to disseminate information about their work to all the stakeholders. The Board also had to address dominance in the industry.
“Nothing you do must destroy competition”. Premier Mchunu said now that stability had returned, the Board would soon be moved from the Office of The Premier back to the relevant line function of Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs.
The KwaZulu Natal Gaming and Betting Board is a major player in the economy of KwaZuluNatal and during the past financial year collected aboutR449million in revenue.
The following members were sworn in today.
Dr Sakhile Ben Ngcobo Chairperson
Ms Mbali Myeni Deputy Chairperson
Mr Sanele Siyabonga Zondi(ordinary member)
Advocate Khayelihle Prince Thanngo (ordinary member)
Mr Siva Chetty (ordinary member)
Prof Bruce Stamford Stobie (ordinary member)
Thokozani Ian Nzimakwe (ordinary member)
Zinhle Precious Tenza (ordinary member)
Sifiso Lucky Gabela (ordinary member)
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