Gidani sets record straight on massive jackpot winner

2010-02-17 11:25

THE self-proclaimed “winner” of the R91 million powerball jackpot

interviewed by newspapers over the weekend is a phoney, the company which

operates the national lottery said yesterday.

“We emphasise that we only had one winner and that winner’s

description does not go anywhere close to what has been communicated in those

media that ran the story,” Gidani chairman and chief executive Bongani Khumalo

said at a briefing in Midrand.

Over the past few days, several newspapers have reported that a

deaf and mute cleaner named Stanley Philander, from Cape Town, won the powerball

jackpot.

The articles were accompanied by a photo of a smiling Philander

with his family holding up what purported to be the winning ticket.

“The information we obtained this morning [Tuesday] is that the

coupon supposed to be the Philanders’ winning ticket was actually bought on

Saturday, February 13, the day following the powerball draw on the 12th,” said

Khumalo.

Gidani has not had any contact with Philander, who reportedly left

his home with his family over the weekend after being harassed with requests for

money.

“We are concerned that claims have been made that the ticket was

checked and found to be authentic before breaking the story,” said

Khumalo.

Gidani spokeswoman Thembi Tulwana said the company would contact

Die Son, the newspaper which broke the news of Philander’s “win” and try to find

more about the circumstances surrounding the ticket.

“We advised that all involved in the Philander story should do all

they can to work with the Philander family to deal with the implications of the

apparent prank,” said Khumalo.

Khumalo said the real winner, who was playing for the first time,

was a 43-year-old wife and mother of two teenagers who ran a medium-sized

business with her husband and wished to remain anonymous.

“She and her husband were oblivious of the media attention the

phoney winner was getting, the couple said they had not told anyone about their

fortune,” said Khumalo.

“The winner, who hails from Western Cape, did not want to take any

chances. With the winning ticket safely secured in her husband’s wallet, the

couple quietly booked themselves into a hotel.

“They said: ‘We are not even going to tell our children about

it’.”

Khumalo said they did not plan to drastically change their

lives.

The couple would, however, buy a new home and a car for their

oldest child who is attending university next year.

Most of the money would be put into an interest bearing

account.

With a standard interest rate of 7%, the R91 million jackpot would

earn over R530,000 a month in revenue.

Khumalo said that R595 million in tickets had been purchased since

the inception of powerball in October with over R200 million being given to

social development projects.

Although Philander’s ticket was not valid for the R91 million

jackpot on Friday, it is still a genuine ticket for the next Powerball draw.

Should the numbers be identical to the previous draw, Philander’s ticket will be

good for R5 000.


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