NHA members consider themselves constrained to lodge a complaint against licenced officials or the racing regulator’s CEO due to the requirements to pay a deposit and the risk of a fine.
In a notice published on their website on Friday 3 September 2021, the NHA advise that a limited moratorium has been placed on the requirement to pay a deposit to lodge a complaint against licenced officials in terms of rule 6.9.1, or against the Chief Executive in terms of rule 6.10.1 and on the imposition of fines for unwarranted complaints in terms of rule 6.9.4 and rule 6.10.3.
The notice states that the National Board of the NHA (“Board”) noted from publications in the media that some members who signed the requisition for a Special General Meeting (“SGM”) to be held inextricably link their proposed amendments of the Constitution to the manner in which certain officials discharge their duties.
When investigating why no formal complaints were lodged against the licenced officials under rule 6.9.1 or against the Chief Executive under rule 6.10.1, the Board was advised that members consider themselves constrained both as a result of the requirement to pay a deposit with the complaint, as well as the risk of being issued with a fine in terms of rules 6.9.4 or 6.10.3 if the complaint is considered unwarranted.
Rules 6.9 and 6.10 prescribe procedures for the lodging and the investigation of complaints against licenced officials and the Chief Executive respectively. It should be emphasized that these rules were formulated with the support of the industry participants at a Rules Committee meeting. To avoid the Board being inundated with spurious and/or vexatious complaints, the requirement to pay a deposit and the discretion to impose a fine if the complaint is considered unwarranted, were enacted.
At the upcoming SGM highly important matters of principle have to be decided regarding the way the industry is regulated.
The first resolution to be voted on relates to the composition of the Board as set out in the Constitution and the second resolution entails the removal of the position of the Racing Control Executive from the Constitution.
It will be very unfortunate if these issues of principle are distorted by personal complaints against the incumbents. The merits or demerits of the two resolutions should be decided on principle and what is best for the industry. The decision making process ought not to be overwhelmed by the manner in which officials have been discharging their duties.
The latter is a management issue to be dealt with by the Board, however it is composed after the SGM, and should duly be excluded from the deliberations and considerations.
To dissociate any grievances which members may have against licenced officials or against the Chief Executive from the issues of principle to be resolved at the SGM, the Board decided on 24 August 2021 to impose a limited moratorium to temporarily suspend:
- payment of the applicable deposit when lodging a complaint in terms of rules 6.9.1 and 6.10.1; and
- the discretionary imposition of a fine should the complaint be considered unwarranted as provided for in rules 6.9.4 and 6.10.3.
The limited moratorium for the temporary suspension of both the payment of the applicable deposit when lodging a complaint and the discretionary imposition of a fine should the complaint be considered unwarranted as provided for in rules 6.9 and 6.10 will only apply to all incidents and conduct that took place between the period of 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021 (both dates inclusive).
All complaints that are covered by the period of the moratorium should reach the NHA offices by no later than 10 September 2021.
Please send complaints in writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that this email address will cease to operate from the 11th of September 2021.
In all other circumstances rules 6.9 and 6.10 will remain applicable in their entirety and will be enforced in respect of all complaints regarding incidents and conduct:
- not covered by the period of the moratorium;
- within the applicable period of the moratorium, but which are submitted after the deadline of 10 September 2021.