Overhaul Lotto board: DA

2012-01-25 18:04

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Cape Town - The National Lotteries Board (NLB) needs a fundamental overhaul, Democratic Alliance MP Jacques Smalle said on Wednesday.

There had been a growing trend of non-government organisations (NGOs) being overlooked in the distribution of lottery funds in favour of politically-affiliated organisations, he told journalists at Parliament.

"In April 2010, over R41m was paid to Makhaya Arts and Culture, an NGO which employs the daughter of the NLB chairperson, Alfred Nevhutanda," Smalle said.

"This was the largest awarded by the NLB to an arts and culture organisation in the 2010/11 financial year."

Smalle was speaking at the launch of a plan by the DA to overhaul the lottery system.

He said in another example, a R40m grant was made to the National Youth Development Agency to help fund an ANC Youth League "talk shop" held in December 2010.

Some R1m was paid by the NLB to the Congress of SA Trade Unions to help fund its 25th birthday celebration held on December 4 2010.

Support denied

Meanwhile, NGOs desperately in need of funding had been denied support "on spurious grounds", Smalle said.

The Tshwane Child Welfare, which provides assistance to 28 000 children had its application denied due to an "administrative error".

In 2011, its application was denied because the NLB decided to only fund "first-time applicants".

The Phoenix Child Welfare Society meanwhile, applied for funds from the NLB and was officially appropriated R19m for 2011, but the money was never paid because "only first-time applicants were being considered".

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has indicated that he will initiate a parliamentary process this year to amend the National Lotteries Act.

Smalle said once the National Lotteries amendment bill was tabled for discussion in the trade and industry portfolio committee, the party would push for the proposals contained in its plan to be incorporated into the bill.

"The first step to reforming the NLB must be a forensic audit into all of its grant decisions for the past three years," Smalle said.

"Those who are guilty of misappropriating funds must be charged and prosecuted."
- SAPA

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