DA CALLS FOR PROBE INTO GAMBLING BOARD BOSS: THE HERALD

THE DA has called on Economic Development and Environmental Affairs MEC Mcebisi Jonas to investigate all decisions taken and implemented by Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board CEO Mabutho Zwane.

This follows the release of a damning provisional report by public protector Thuli Madonsela into Zwane’s appointment.

The report states Jonas must “take urgent steps to ensure that the board reconsiders the appointment of Mr Zwane as CEO”.

The KwaZulu-Natal-born gambling boss’s appointment has been at the centre of a dispute within the board for more than three years.

Zwane faced a disciplinary hearing over his live-in relationship with his then girlfriend, Nonkululeko Ngwane, to whom he is now married. At the time she was an employee of the Department of Education.

The board at the time felt that, in terms of the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board Act, the fact that Zwane was having a relationship with a government employee disqualified him from the top job.

The issue was complicated by Ngwane later working for a gambling board client, the Vukani group, an operator of limited payout machines.

The DA’s John Cupido said the report had serious and valid findings, therefore any decisions taken and implemented by Zwane as CEO should be investigated and re-evaluated.

Jonas’s spokesman, Sixolile Makaula, said there were “no implications” at this stage because the report was provisional.

The board’s chair, Advocate Ncumisa Mayosi said: “It would be premature to respond to provisional findings. We await the . . . final report.”

Zwane referred questions to Jonas’s office.

The final report is expected to come out soon.