South African DA at Odds with Government Over Gambling Laws

South African Gambling

In a Wednesday statement, DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia commented on the alleged mind-boggling statements from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) about online gambling regulations. He noted that the Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies had expressed his interest in supporting the SA Casino Association (CASA) after the entity’s CEO asked for a crackdown on illegal online gambling or regulation and legalization of online casinos.

Cachalia blamed the “flawed gambling policy” from 2016 for bringing the online gambling industry to a situation where a ban is being called. He said that this was neither good for the economy, nor a practical step.

He said that Minister Davies is calling for a strict prohibition of online gambling and stricter measures to curb the activity in the country. Davies also suggested that the National Gambling Board (NGB) must be given more powers and it should become the regulator in South Africa.

There are a few proposals about cracking down on unsolicited messages and advertising that could make vulnerable groups more enticed to gamble. The biggest crackdown, however, would be made on illegal winnings on online gambling platforms. Online winnings could be verified and ceased by the Financial Intelligence Centre which will work closely with financial institutions.

Cachalia has also accused Davies, and the ANC are working on a futile attempt to cease illegal online gambling winnings while working with the financial institutions they are “busy hobbling.” Davies allegedly said that if users go online, they may not be able to stop them and play the game. However, when they win something, they will catch the winners and confiscate their earnings.

Cachalia said that this approach by Davies did not line up with the views of the former chief director of policy and legislation at DTI, MacDonald Netshitenzhe, who is now the chief director of the consumer and corporate regulation division. He said that Netshitenzhe was responsible for creating the mess in the online gambling industry.

He also claimed that Netshitenzhe said that online gambling can be stopped by “banning the internet.” He went on to say that online gambling is a thriving industry and the country must follow the trends. He said that there was a strong view of looking at gambling activities more holistically when the gambling bill was first tabled to the parliamentary committee in 2018.

He noted that the ANC voted down the bill as it wanted to deal with the policy council, the National Central Electronic Management System (NCEMS) and the regulator. He said that the bill was considered in record time, showing the flawed process they follow. He said that the same “undue haste” is being witnessed again as the minister believes that the government can provide spiritual redemption to the people by impoverishing them.

He went on to call it the “conflation of communism and religious flagellation.” Cachalia continued with his strong protest and scathing attack on Davies and his attitude towards gambling.

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