Process to appoint NLC chairperson would be unlawful – Mat Cuthbert

DA MP says it should be restarted from the beginning to ensure that there are no unresolved questions

DA legal opinion finds that the process to appoint NLC chairperson would be unlawful

24 November 2020

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to both the Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel and the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Duma Nkosi, to argue that the process to appoint a new National Lotteries Commission (NLC) board chairperson was unlawful.

This followed the tabling of Chief Parliamentary Legal Advisor Adv ZurayaAdhikarie’s legal opinion at the portfolio committee meeting on 19 November.

She advised that “the Committee should consider requesting the CVs of all nominated candidates so that the committee may proceed in terms of its own process as required by the Act”. This was informed by the fact that several provisions within the Lotteries Act of 1997 were contravened by Minister Patel.

Subsequent to her legal opinion being tabled, the DA exercised its right to seek a legal opinion of its own which found that “…the shortlist must be set aside by the PC and it must do shortlisting from scratch. The Minister did not have the authority to shortlist and Parliament would fail in its duty if it now simply endorses that shortlist and supplements it, given that Prof Madonsela withdrew as a candidate”.

Therefore, we argue that the process of appointing a new Chairperson of the NLC should be restarted from the beginning to ensure that there are no unresolved questions in terms of legality, process and procedure.

Failure to do so may lead to drawn out litigation between the DTIC and unsuccessful candidates, civil society organisations and political parties respectively.

It is of the utmost importance that a fit for purpose chairperson is sought and ultimately appointed in order to turn around this failing institution that has been mired in corruption scandals and maladministration.

This is our collective opportunity to do things the right way, to prevent the selection process from being called into question and not to allow for the credibility of this institution to be diminished further.

Issued by Mat CuthbertDA Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, 24 November 2020