'DA wrong about Lotto'

2008-08-11 20:05

Cape Town - The National Lotteries Board (NLB) on Monday accused the Democratic Alliance and some media of "selective understanding of the facts".

"The DA and media reports claim that the National Lotteries Board 'was declaring unpaid funds as having been paid out'," NLB beneficiary and player relations and media liaison manager Sershan Naidoo said.

"The board would like to assure the public that this statement is unfounded," he said.

If the DA and the "learned journalists who reported" made the effort to read the NLB's annual report - available on the NLB website - they would know that the board identified statistics in terms of allocations made by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) to good causes.

All Members of Parliament received their own copy of the annual report each year.

The 2007 annual report provided a detailed list of allocations.

Allocations were made by the distributing agencies based on the applications received with each call for applications.

Before confirmation and payment of grants, there were conditions to be met, Naidoo said.

The annual report stated: "Included in the detailed list are conditional allocations made in the 2006/2007 financial year that we are obliged to accrue for. In the event of conditions not being met, this will be rectified in the next financial year and identified in the financial statements."

In view of this, the board was concerned as to why the DA, the media and beneficiaries would believe that the board was misrepresenting the facts.

Those organisations who had not met the conditions attached to their grant allocation would have had their grants withdrawn.

When setting conditions to be met before confirmation of grants, the distributing agencies set deadlines for submission of information.

Failure to meet these deadlines resulted in allocations being withdrawn.

"The board appreciates responsible criticism that is devoid of sensationalism and attempts at electioneering.

"The DA and the media should have requested comment from the NLB before making statements and comments that cannot be substantiated."

In the performance audit referred to by the DA, the issues raised by the office of the Auditor General dealt primarily with grantmaking by the distributing agencies.

The board had previously stated that it had no control or influence over the agencies, including the number of meetings scheduled, as well as the number and method of adjudications conducted at the meetings, Naidoo said.