• Breaking News – TOURISM MINISTRY PRINCIPAL SECRETARY KHANGEZIWE MABUZA:I am not resigning,ngatsi ngigejwe nayi-reshuffle.
Swaziland News Logo

TOURISM MINISTER TAKES INTERNATIONAL TRIP AS R1.2BILLION EBET INVESTMENT STOPPED:Gaming Board Chairman Simo Simelane says “I am under political pressure to issue new license to eBet”.

Thursday, 11th April, 2024

MBABANE:Simo Simelane,the former Magistrate and now Chairman of the Gaming Board alleges that,he is under political pressure to issue a new license to eBet.

The Gaming Board Chairman disclosed this on Monday during an urgent Board meeting with legal representatives of eBet, the Gaming company that was ‘shutdown’ amid eState disagreements after the death of businessman Mduduzi Maziya, who was the original owner of the license.

The Board meeting whose contents is in possession of this Swaziland News, was attended by, among others, eBet lawyer and former Justice Minister Sibusiso Shongwe, Maxwell Dlamini(Board Secretary) and Gaming Board member and former Housing Minister Phiwayinkosi Mabuza.

This comes after the Board consistently refused to grant eBet its own license and there were serious allegations suggesting that, the Board was bribed to monopolize the Gaming industry and kickout other companies.

“I am younger than you Mr Shongwe and I respect you as my senior in the legal profession. But I am disappointed that seemingly, there’s now political pressure in this process of granting the license, it’s no longer about following the law”, said the former Magistrate now Chairman of the Gaming Board when addressing the meeting.

This comes after Sibusiso Shongwe made a presentation before the Gaming Board saying, eBet “has suffered loses” amid delays in the process of awarding the license.

“As we speak, we are paying employees their salaries while they sit at home because we have hopes that,we will get the license and, we are avoiding job loses. We are at least requesting for a provisional license pending the issuing of the license”, said the eBet legal representative.

But former Housing Minister Phiwa Mabuza, a member of the Gaming Board who sounded hostile against the eBet legal representative lawyer Sibusiso Shongwe, urged him to wait for the process, Mabuza previously worked with Shongwe as a Cabinet Minister.

“We understand that there you are suffering loses and you are trying to protect jobs but, can’t you wait for the process of granting the license, remember we must also call those who want to object”, said the former Housing and Urban Development Minister.

It is alleged that, the meeting was urgently convened by Tourism Minister Jane Mkhonta after the Board consistently refused to hold the meeting as part of the process of granting the license.

As a result, the Directors of eBet had to appeal to higher Governing structures after suspecting that, the Board under the Ministry of Tourism, was deliberately frustrating the process with intent to monopolize the Gaming industry.

Efforts to reach the Tourism Minister proved unsuccessful, as she was reported to be in Cape Town attending the World Travel Market Africa.

Reached for comments by this Swaziland News on Wednesday evening, Maxwell Dlamini,the Secretary of the Gaming Board referred comments to Principal Secretary(PS) Khangeziwe Mabuza.

“Please contact the PS”, said the Gaming Board Secretary.

Efforts to reach the PS proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report.

But a member of the Board who spoke to this Swaziland News on Wednesday evening dismissed the allegations suggesting that, the Board members were ‘bribed’ to frustrate eBet.

“I know and respect your writings and I knew you will verify any information that comes to you. This is what happened; we are actually in the process of granting eBet the license but we must follow the law. As the Board,we can’t just issue a license if there are objections, we need to listen to those objections first.I would make an example, if there’s a customer who claim, he/she won and eBet failed to pay,we need to demand an explanation from eBet for that objection.How can we be accused of refusing to grant eBet a license when this week, we had an urgent meeting, trying to fast-track the process of granting the license?. But again, thank you for trying to verify, as the Board, we have been facing baseless accusations about this matter, our sin is to try and follow the law”, said the Board member whose name cannot be revealed for ethical reasons.

On another note, eBet representatives are expected to meet the Gaming Board in the next few weeks to discuss some objections before a decision is made whether to grant the license or not.

It has been disclosed that, eBet was generating an annual turnover of about R1.2billion with significant contribution to the economy in terms of taxes and other license payments to Government through the Central Bank.

TOURISM MINISTER TAKES INTERNATIONAL TRIP AS R1.2BILLION EBET INVESTMENT STOPPED:Gaming Board Chairman Simo Simelane says “I am under political pressure to issue new license to eBet”.
Tourism Minister Jane Mkhonta.