PUBLIC FURY OVER PROPOSED GAMBLING BILL
By: Pamela Sibiya and Bongani Gema
Community leaders and residents are against the recently proposed Gaming and Betting Amendment Bill which will allow gambling machines in shopping malls
across the province.
This came out of a public hearing held at the Durban Exhibition Centre by the finance portfolio committee of the Kwazulu-Natal Legislature earlier this week.
The bill was tabled in April this year.
Reverend Leslie Munsamy, representing more than 100 churches from around Phoenix, said that they are strongly against the bill because “compulsive” gambling is
the cause of most social ills in communities.
He said that last week he met a resident whose house was due to be auctioned because he had gambled away his money.
Munsamy added that the man was given few days to find the money or the bank was going to auction his house.
“We as community leaders know when there is impending danger. The worst is that children will end up suffering,” he said.
Munsamy also pleaded with the committee that they not only amend the bill but they repeal the entire section on gambling machines in shopping malls.
Brandon Pillay, Ward 64 councillor, said that it was a lie that gambling machines were going to bring jobs because they operated without needing people to operate it.
He said the machines would bring more poverty and suffering.
“The people who are making these applications are living rich lives.
They do not care about the needy and the vulnerable,” he added.
Pillay also asked the committee to consider regulations similar to those of a liquor license to ensure that no gambling takes place near places of worship, shopping
centres and schools.
Sipho Nkosi, finance portfolio committee chairperson, assured the public that they would consider all proposals.