With the term of the current board of the National Lotteries Commission set to expire at the end of this month, an application has been made through the judicial system to appoint a new one as soon as possible.
The Commission applied for an urgent order that would push the Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel to extend the term of current board members or choose a new board. They are applying for a mandamus, which is an order that compels a government official to fulfill his or her duties. Patel has oversight over the South African Lottery.
The Commission wants the court to force Patel to appoint a new board before their terms expires on March 31st. The other option is for the minister to extend the term of the three remaining board members. This extension will continue to a new board is appointed.
It is expected that Ebrahim Patel will fire the current board, which in any case is not quorate. Last year, board member William Huma resigned after the Special Investigating Unit confronted him with evidence that he was involved in corruption.
In its application to the court, the National Lotteries Commission said that the minister’s failure to choose a new board could be detrimental to its ability to operate.
“While the board may assign management or other functions, or delegate its powers or functions to the Commissioner or the Commission, ultimate responsibility remains with the board for the exercise of any such functions,” said NLC Commissioner, Thabang Mampane .
“However, if the board is non-existent, no delegations or assignments of such functions can be either made or supervised.”
Mampane added that it would paralyze the South African Lotteries Act and deprive good causes of their funds on which they heavily depend.
She also pointed out that lottery operator, Ithuba’s license is expiring in 2023 and the appointment of new operator would be affected if the NLC board issue wasn’t solved as soon as possible.
”Not even a temporary licence may be issued by the minister without consulting the board,” Mampane said.
Efforts are underway to choose a new board, and the Trade, Industry and competition Parliamentary Portfolio Committee shortlisted three people to serve as the new board chairperson. This shortlist was submitted to Minister Patel. One of the people on the list has died since it was drawn up.
According to Daily Maverick one of the former NLC chairperson’s companies received millions of dollars from Lottery grants. Non-profit organizations, which received grants from the Lottery paid towards Alfred Nevhutanda’s mansion in Pretoria North.
The publication further goes on to write that while the municipality has valued the property to be worth R5.3 million, the total cost of the house was R30.2 million.
It further points out that Nevhutanda’s title of ‘professor’ by which he goes, was given to him by the International Eco Energy Academy in Azerbaijan for a paper that he delivered at an international conference. However, it was later shown that there was strong evidence that the material was plagiarized.