Stability returns to Gauteng Gambling Board

Just a little over a year after becoming the CEO of the Gauteng Gambling Board (GGB), Karabo Mbele says things are looking up for GGB as the dust settles over her appointment and other contentious issues.

In October last year, there were allegations of maladministration and corruption against Mbele after her appointment was met with resistance by a group of 11 dismissed employees, who accused her of unlawfully trying to get rid of them.

However, Mbele who recently spoke to The Star indicated that her actions and appointment had been vindicated by various investigations. She now looked forward to ensuring that the GGB returns to its former glory and meets its targets of collecting revenue for the provincial government.

“My tenure at the helm of GGB has been great yet challenging. This is because we have been working towards stabilising the organisation and its work. I think what has been happening in the past is that we had been trying to play nice and be friends with the casino owners, and as a result we were overtaken by other provinces… However, we are now in a better position as we try to fill some of the vacancies and are attracting the right skills,” – Mbele said.

On allegations of corruption levelled against her when she took up her position, Mbele said it had become a norm for people to bark at a moving car rather than a stationary one.

At the centre of some of the discomfort was the Gauteng Economic Development MEC Tasneem Motara, who had ordered the dissolution of the board due to alleged mass resignation of its members.

At the time of Mbele’s appointment, those opposed to her appointment alleged in a letter to Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, that she was embroiled in alleged corrupt activities, including claims that she and her associates had squandered more than R15 million through unregistered and unapproved non-profit organisations.

“We have dealt with corruption within the organisation and this was done within the PFMA and robust consequence management. We believe that we have done everything by the book…When it comes to allegations levelled against me, there was nothing untoward that involves my name. I was cleared by the court which found nothing wrong with my appointment,” – she said.

When it came to dealing with offending operators, Mbele said in the last year, the gambling board shut down no less than 400 illegal online gambling sites. This was proof of the systems put in place to deal with technology driven illegal gambling which has been spreading.

“We run a unit comprised of just three employees that had been central to the work that we do and we have shut down no less than 400 illegal gambling site through this unit. Our task now is to increase revenue and eradicate illegal gambling, and we want to urge licence holders to work with us in this regard,” – she added.


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