Following the 2021 corruption scandal at the South African National Lotteries Commission (NLC) the South African lottery regulator, NLC, has recently announced a number of changes; amongst which is extending the license of the current operator; Ithuba holdings for another 2 year period and appointing human rights activist, Barney Pityana as the NLC’s new chairperson, with a start date of 1st of August.
The NLC announced in a statement at a press conference, that the intended over-haul and new developments at the Commission, will be a drive to its efforts to improve the regulator’s governance and performance.
The process that produced Dr. Pityana has undergone a two-year long parliamentary process which included a public nomination process that identified 41 possible candidates, with three names ultimately submitted by the minister of trade, industry and competition; Ebrahim Patel, for parliamentary consideration.
Funds to the tune of R300 million meant to develop facilities like drug rehabilitation centers, old age homes and youth empowerment facilities, were corruptly funneled from the NLC to board members and some non-profit companies, they were in collusion with, using a construction company, Upbrand Properties. The channeled funds were instead used to purchase luxury cars and private homes.
The NLC is South Africa’s lotteries and sports-betting regulator and the grant funder for non-governmental organisations established in causes aimed at improving the lives of South Africans.
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, instituted a forensic investigation into the funding approved by the NLC and subsequently the president appointed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe the NLC funding decisions.
The law enforcement agencies having acted on the preliminary findings of the SIU is expected to take further action as more information of wrong-doing becomes available. There is an uncovered high level of collusion between some NLC officials and the Non-profit organisations.
The Construction Company reported to have been used to make the dubious seeming payments to several board members at the NLC; Upbrand Properties, is said to have links with a senior board member at the NLC.
According to Ebrahim Patel, the minister for trade, industry and competition; he was looking forward to the new board, which will ensure that all monies corruptly taken by individuals, are fully recovered and that implicated persons, are held accountable by the law enforcement agencies.
The officials from the NLC, according to SIU, would be pursued for legal proceedings and assets seized.
The board also stated that it has undertaken a review of the process of appointing future operators.