National Lotteries Commission to reveal list of Covid-19 relief fund beneficiaries

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Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel.
Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel.
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  • The National Lotteries Commission will by next month reveal a list of beneficiaries of its controversial R150 million Covid-19 relief fund.
  • The list of beneficiaries has been kept under wraps for months and prompted the DA to submit a PAIA application.
  • A string of reports about alleged corruption in the payment of grants have emerged.

The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) will, by next month, reveal a list of beneficiaries of its controversial R150 million Covid-19 relief fund that have been kept secret for months.

Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel announced this in reply to a written Parliamentary question from DA MP Mat Cuthbert who wanted details on when the NLC would make the information available.

Patel said the NLC estimates the whole process to be completed by the second week of July.

Only after that date can the NLC be able to provide a list of projects funded as part of Covid-19 relief, Patel’s answer read.

"The NLC went out on a call for applications for the Covid-19 relief fund to the amount of R150 million and received over five thousand applications from non-profit organisations countrywide. At this stage, adjudications are underway, and allocations are still being done on the R150 million to different applicants. Therefore, the process has not been completed as yet," Patel said.

READ ALSO| ANC defends corruption accused National Lotteries Commission

Patel said applications are received, processed and prepared for adjudication by distributing agencies respectively.

"After adjudication, those who have been successfully adjudicated are formally informed and grant agreements are prepared and sent to the organisation for sign off. Beneficiaries are given a time-frame of 30 days within which to sign and return formally signed grant agreements. Once grant agreements are received the NLC processes, the agreements for payment and the law allows a period of 60 days within which to effect payment," he said.

Last week, the DA announced it will submit an application in terms of the Public Access to Information Act (PAIA) for the release of documents relating to alleged corruption at the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

The documents Cuthbert wants is the list of 2018-2019 NLC proactive-funding beneficiaries, 2019-2020 proactive-funding beneficiaries and the 2020 Covid-19 Relief Fund beneficiaries.

Last month, GroundUp reported that they have obtained a leaked list of payments made from April to December 2019 and it showed the NLC paid out grants worth millions to organisations already involved in questionable, unfinished Lottery-funded projects.

In February, the NLC appointed audit firm Sekela Xabiso to institute an independent investigation into allegations of improper use of funds intended for good causes.

This after a string of reports by GroundUp on the matter.

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