For reasons which are still not clear, the South African Trade and Industry Minster Rob Davies made the dramatic announcement that the country's National Gambling Board is set to be suspended, effective immediately. The government confirmed the news after it was published in a number of local publications, saying that the suspension was immediate pending the outcome of a forensic investigation.
A spokesman for the minister said that he was unwilling to clarify reasons behind the move at present due to a court case that will be held soon. He would not elaborate on the matter. In the meantime, two administrators will run the National Gambling Board until the matter is resolved one way or the other.
The official statement put out by Sidwell Medupe, spokesperson for the department read: "The forensic investigation will mainly cover the assets of the National Gambling Board and the minister has also appointed two administrators to oversee the day to day assess of the National Gambling Board. We are unable to say how long this will take."
The National Gambling Board is tasked for the oversight of regulation in the country's gambling industry. It was established to be an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry in 1996 and oversees all matters relating to casinos, gambling, betting and wagering, promoting uniforms standards in relation to South African gambling.
The Board consists of a unitary board of executive and non executive directors and they include the chairperson Prof. L de Vries, deputy chairperson, Ms ME Nana Magomola, Acting CEO, Ms. D Muzwayine and Board Members, Prof. SV Nzimande, Mr, MC MAcebele, M. ES Masotja and Brigadier ST Nkosi.
Under directions of Minister Davies, the entire board has been suspended pending the forensic probe.
Next month, Prof. Linda de Vries, chairperson of the National Gambling board is set to be honorary representative at the Big Africa Summit meeting, to be held at the Emperors Palace Casino in Johannesburg. The 2014 Big Africa Gaming Summit is scheduled for October 6th – 8th, and it remains to be seen whether she will represent the Board or whether the summit will have to make do with other representatives. Scheduled to represent their companies or organizations are Hon. Geordin Hill –Lewis, Shadow Minister at the South African DTI and Michael Were, the managing director of Betting World.