By Francois Rodgers, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance:
Yesterdays Finance Portfolio committee meeting, held to adopt amendments to the controversial KZN Gaming and Betting Amendment Bill , was a victory for the people of KZN after all of the contentious proposals objected to by the DA were removed.
The changes mean that KZN Finance MEC, Belinda Scott will now have to regulate the limitations of any gaming or betting outlets at retail shopping centres, religious centres and schools.
This after the previous Gaming and Betting Board randomly issued gaming licenses in shopping centres with some outlets having a disastrous impact upon more vulnerable communities.
The amendments also ensure that there will no longer be a shift of power away from the legislature to the Provincial executive and that the Finance portfolio committee will continue to play its oversight role of legislation pertaining to the industry.
This is a victory in terms of the separation of powers.
The meeting also saw the committee’s outright objection to the extremely contentious amendment -brought about and heavily punted by Finance MEC Belinda Scott -that a single and exclusive KZN horseracing licence be issued for a minimum of 15 years.
The DA is satisfied that this proposal will never see the light of day. The move is a victory for freedom, fairness and opportunity for any role player wanting to enter the horse racing industry.
The people of KZN have spoken and the DA has heard their concerns. This is how government should function – people and their rights must be placed above all else.
The DA will continue to closely monitor the performance of the Board and MEC Scott in the implementation of the Act.
Gaming and Betting is a sensitive industry but if strictly regulated and controlled it has the potential to play a major role in driving KZN’s economy and assist in development through revenue collection and job creation, which are the key to a brighter future.