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Monday 7 March: D-day for nominations to National Lotteries Commission board

Monday 7 March: D-day for nominations to National Lotteries Commission board
Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel says he has asked the National Lotteries Commission for details of legal expenditure. (Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

The embattled National Lotteries Commission board is no longer quorate, and has been without a full-time chairperson since Alfred Nevhutanda’s scandal-ridden term ended in November 2020. Nominations for new board members close on Monday, 7 March.

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has called for nominations and applications for the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) board. Individuals, institutions and civil society organisations have until Monday 7 March to apply or be nominated to sit on the board.

Five people, with experience in business, law or other relevant fields, will be appointed to serve on the board for a five-year period.

The NLC, established through the Lotteries Act of 1997, monitors the operation of the national lottery and oversees the distribution of a percentage of lottery proceeds for the benefit of society.

But, during the incumbent board’s term, GroundUp has reported on massive fraud and corruption at the NLC. Last week, the Special Investigation Unit told Parliament that its investigation into the NLC has uncovered fraud, money laundering and networks of corruption involving NLC officials, board members, and their family members.

The embattled board, for which members’ terms of office end this month, is also no longer quorate. This follows the death of board member Muthuhadini Madzivhandila at the beginning of February this year, while William Huma, another board member, resigned late last year.

To be quorate there should be at least four members who are not in the public service, including one accountant and one lawyer.

The remaining board members are Doris Dondur, Yawant Gordhan, and the Minister of Trade and Industry’s representative Zandile Brown.

The board has been without a full-time chairperson since the scandal-ridden term of its former chairperson, Alfred Nevhutanda, ended in November 2020. Madzivhandila was one of three people shortlisted for the position. The shortlist was compiled by the Trade and Industry (TIC) parliamentary portfolio committee, after interviewing more than 40 applicants for the post over a year ago. It is unclear whether Madzivhandila will be replaced on the shortlist.

Procedural issues and strained relations between Minister Ebrahim Patel and the current board have delayed the process of appointing a new chairperson.

Last year some board members wrote to Patel objecting to Brown’s appointment. This was followed by successful litigation by the NLC to set aside her appointment as acting board chairperson.

Following the shortlisting of candidates, the TIC parliamentary portfolio committee compiled and submitted a report to Parliament at the end of 2020. Once Parliament has debated the report, it will be sent to the minister to make a choice from the names on the shortlist.

It’s unclear why Parliament has taken so long to hold the debate.

The appointment of a new board and chairperson is urgent as the board will play a key role in the process of appointing a new Lottery operator when Ithuba’s lucrative licence ends in May 2023. DM

First published by GroundUp.

Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks

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