Lottery board pays out just 28%

2009-06-22 22:15

Johannesburg - The South African Lottery Board has managed to pay out only 28% of the R8.5bn available to it for distribution to various charities, art and sporting initiatives since 2007.

In comparison to the R2.3bn that the board distributed in the last two and a half years, the six board members have taken home remunerations worth R7.5m in total.

This was revealed in Parliament when the department of trade and industry responded to questions on the payments made by the lottery board since 2007.

Slow payment from the lottery board has been a perpetual gripe among charity organisations who say they live under continual threat of closure due to lack of support from their main donor – the national lottery.

Staff shortages, NGO complaints

National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund spokesperson Sershan Naidoo has put the tardy payment process down to staff shortages which slow down the process of sorting through the applications.

While Naidoo also complained about the failure of non-government organisations to submit audited financial statements which ended in many rejections, organisations like Childline have consistently complained of two-year delays in getting funds because of "simple technical issues".

DA shadow minister of trade and industry Kobus Marais reacted by saying that: “It is quite clear from the reply that, while those individuals on the lottery board receive huge sums of money, the board is fundamentally failing to fulfil its mandate and distribute funds to those in need.”

The DTI’s answers detail how much money was available each year and how much of that was distributed. In 2007, for example, R2.1bn was available for distribution but just R792m (37%) was paid out.

More questions

 In 2008, R2.9bn was available but just R634m (22%) was paid out.

Marais says he will be submitting a series of new parliamentary questions to establish what criteria is used to measure performance by the board which is responsible for ensuring that the Lottery functions properly.

“It is the responsibility of the board to ensure that the Lottery distributes monies available to it, to those in need. It is quite clearly failing to do this and those responsible for this failing, including the board members, now need to account for this failure and justify the salaries they earn,” said Marais.

The boxes reflect the breakdown of the payments made over the last three years.