South Africans will still be able to buy lottery tickets – Ithuba

2015-07-08 14:47

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Johannesburg - South Africans will still be able to buy their lottery tickets, despite the High Court in Pretoria declaring as invalid the decision to award the lottery licence to Ithuba.

"Ithuba assures all parties that there will be no interruption of the national lottery," spokesperson Zukiswa Nomnganga said.

"Ithuba will continue to use all its resources and manpower in ensuring that it delivers a reliable, secure and invigorated lottery network to all South Africans across the country."  

Judge Neil Tuchten ruled on Wednesday: "The decision of the minister [of trade and industry Rob Davies] to award the tender to Ithuba is invalid and the licence issue done by the minister is set aside, provided that the operation of the order is suspended for a month.

"The rewarding of the licence is remitted to the minister for reconsideration."

Ithuba started operating the lottery in June.

Judicial review

Former Lotto operator Gidani asked the court last year to review the decision to award the licence to Ithuba, but the court ruled that its application was not urgent.

Gidani said it would still pursue a judicial review as it believed the selection of Ithuba was irrational and arbitrary.

Nomnganga said Ithuba was "satisfied" with the judgment.

"Ithuba`s tender bid was the best bid in a very competitive and fair bidding process," she said.

"Ithuba is of the opinion that the decision of the court to refuse Gidani’s court challenge to overturn the decision of the minister to negotiate with Ithuba as the preferred bidder is the correct outcome.

"The judgment found that there were certain irregularities in the licence agreement and has given the minister, the National Lotteries Commission, and Ithuba one month to correct these irregularities."

'Momentous'

She said Ithuba would release a statement "in due course" on other aspects of the judgment once it had received advice from its legal team in respect of the licence agreement.

"Thereafter a decision will be taken on what further steps are required in respect of the judgment, if any."

The National Lotteries Commission referred all enquiries to the minister's office.

Trade and Industry spokesperson Sidwell Medupe could not be immediately reached for comment

Deputy trade and industry minister Mzwandile Masina said he could not comment since he was not involved in the case.

Gidani CEO Bongani Khumalo described the judgment as "momentous" but said he would first have to study it fully before commenting in detail.

Gidani’s predecessor, Uthingo, also challenged its successor about eight years ago. This led to there being no lottery for six months.

Read more on:    gidani  |  ithuba  |  pretoria

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