Corruption Watch (CW) has written to the minister of trade and industry, Ebrahim Patel, and the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the upcoming appointments to the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).
The NLC has been in the news frequently of late, for all the wrong reasons – opacity, nepotism, misuse of funds, corruption. Patel has initiated several investigations into the irregularities, of which one is complete, That evidence is now with law enforcement.
CW expressed its concern at the allegations, and welcomed investigations into these matters, adding that the NLC is as susceptible to corruption as other public institutions. It is recognised, said the organisation, that part of combating corruption, as well as its prevention, is ensuring ethical, qualified leadership and oversight.
With this in mind, the new NLC chairperson and board members must be individuals of high calibre, in their skills, knowledge and integrity. This is not negotiable if corruption is to be reined in. Accordingly, CW makes certain recommendations to the portfolio committee, as follows:
- Ensure that the minister of trade and industry submit a detailed report on the shortlisted candidates who will be referred to the committee for interviewing. The report should include:
- A summary detailing the selection process undertaken by the minister;
- The total number and names of all individuals who applied for the position;
- The criteria used for shortlisting;
- The methodology used to assess the skills and competencies of candidates; and
- The results of the financial and security vetting conducted on shortlisted candidates, as well as character references and qualification checks.
- The names and CVs of shortlisted candidates should be published on Parliament’s website.
- In line with section 59(1) of the Constitution, CW recommends that the committee allocate a sufficient period, of no less than 7 days, for the public to comment and provide objections to candidates who have been shortlisted.
- Finally, the interviewing and deliberation proceedings should be open and accessible to the public. Furthermore, we urge the committee to evaluate candidates based on their technical skills, leadership abilities, knowledge and understanding of the NLC, conflict management and resolution skills, as well as values and ethics.