South Africa’s National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has pointed the finger of blame at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTIC) as the R200bn operating licence still remains on the market.
As reported by Business Report, the process was supposed to be initiated in February 2021, and completed by June 2023.
However, NLC sources claim there are ‘orchestrated moves’ by the DTIC to align preferred bidders for the lucrative operating licence.
The bid process timeline indicates that evaluation of received applications should have been completed last month, but that didn’t happen and the DTIC was silent on the matter.
“The minister (Ebrahim Patel) has delayed filling up old board positions. We suspect this is to leverage the next operator for the operating licence, which is between R150bn to R200bn,” a source told Business Report.
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Patel, who has ministerial oversight of the lottery, was previously embroiled in a legal battle with the NLC, who were ordered to pay his legal fees last month after their application to quash a probe into corruption allegations was rejected.
Suspicion has also fell on the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), whose investigator, Humbulani Gideon Funyufunyu, was ‘severely reprimanded’ for acquitting NLC chief operating officer Philemon Letwaba of all charges over personally benefiting from NLC funds.
According to recent media reports, the SIU says it has identified R300m in grants syphoned off and allegedly used to pay for cars, luxury homes and properties.
As per Business Report, an NLC source said the process to advertise for the licence had been delayed since September 2021 because the new operator ‘needed to have time and capital to put systems in place’.