Change to lotto funding rules

2009-06-25 22:19

Johannesburg - The government is planning to make it easier for charities to qualify for lotto money, an official said on Thursday.

The lotto fund distribution process needed to be sped up, Zodwa Ntuli, the deputy director general of consumer and corporate regulation at the trade and industry ministry said.

"There are certain quick fixes we need to make," she told Sapa.

It emerged in Parliament this week that only 28% of lottery funds - R948m out of the available R3.3bn - had been paid out to beneficiaries in 2009.

In 2008, only 22% was paid out and in 2007, 37%.

Ntuli said one of the main problems was the strict requirements for charity organisations.

"Firstly, one of the requirements for an application is to provide an audited financial statement for two years.

"Some of the non-governmental organisations are very small and cannot afford to get audited financial statements, which means they can't qualify for funds.

"It becomes a hindrance... It probably closes the window for a whole lot of organisations that do not have that and these are the very organisations we need to support."

Requirement scrapped

Ntuli said it had been decided that the requirement for audited financial statements would be scrapped.

"It is just a matter of changing the application forms. It's a little procedural issue that should not take us more than two months from now to change."

However, there would still be strict monitoring of how the funds were used after the money had been paid to a beneficiary.

Also, she said the time between an application being approved and the beneficiary getting the money, was too long.

"If you look at it on average, it takes over three months. There are some cases that will take six months and there are some that will take even longer.

"That process needs to be shortened," said Ntuli, adding that it would be dealt with internally.

Ntuli said the department would also look at the current legislation to check if any amendments needed to be made to ensure a smoother payment distribution process.