News24

Lottery Board struggles to spend

2010-03-19 08:50

Cape Town - At the end of the 2009 financial year, the National Lottery Board (NLB) had about R6.3bn in cash and liquid assets, while various charity organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were struggling and in desperate need of financial help.

This information was contained in court documents submitted in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday, after two NGOs - the South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) and Sikhula Sonke - submitted an urgent application.

They allege in their court documents that their applications for financial support were turned down repeatedly without explanation by the NLB.

Their application asks that the court review and waive the board's decision not to approve their applications.

The SAEP is an organisation which helps children and adults from previously disadvantaged communities to improve their academic and life skills.

Skhula Sonke helps young children in Khayelitsha with access to pre-school education and also trains parents and staff who work with pre-school children.

Only 69% of available funds paid out

According to the court documents, the NLB's 2008 annual report indicates an amount of R5bn, of which just about R3bn was set aside for financial assistance for organisations. Eventually, less than R2.1bn of the R3bn was made available.

Of 2009's R6.3bn, R3.4bn was made available, but only R1.4bn was allocated. In the end the NLB's distribution agents only paid out 69% of the available funds.

The SAEP says in its court documents that it has been applying for financial assistance since 2003.  Every application was rejected.

Acting judge Takalani Samuel Madima ordered that the application is not urgent, but added that he did not mean to imply that the fate of the children is not an urgent matter.

The case was removed from the urgent court roll. The NGOs can now apply to have it placed on the normal court roll.

David Borgström appeared on behalf of the NGOs and Nazeer Cassiem appeared for the NLB.