The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has entered the public debate on corruption and mismanagement at the “dysfunctional” National Lotteries Commission (NLC), calling for a public audit of all NLC funding programmes and for lifestyle audits of NLC board members. The union federation said the silence of the NLC on allegations of corruption was “deafening and potentially revealing”.
COSATU’s announcement comes after Judge Norman Davis in the Gauteng High Court overturned the appointment of Zandile Brown as acting chair of the NLC board by Ebrahim Patel, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition. The action was brought by current members of the NLC board who are resisting Minister Patel’s anti-corruption efforts. One member, Advocate William Huma, received R5 million towards his house by an organisation that received a substantial NLC grant.
On 8 May, the Economic Freedom Fighters released a statement in which they hailed Judge Davis’s ruling, and accused Minister Patel of attempting to “manipulate and corrupt the lottery license processes.”
COSATU has called on Minister Patel to appeal the ruling, as “the court has failed to clarify what should happen in the event of the Chairpersonship becoming vacant.”
GroundUp has been reporting a series of corruption allegations at the NLC since 2018. On 10 May GroundUp revealed that the NLC had irregularly given R500,000 to fund a concert by pop star Simphiwe Dana, after the concert had been held, and only weeks after Dana’s company, Black Carrot, had been founded.
COSATU’s 11 May statement voices support for Minister Patel, and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) that has been investigating and acting against the NLC. The union federation urged rapid action against the NLC corruption accused, saying that “looted assets should be attached”.
COSATU also called on Parliament to swiftly appoint a permanent chair and to amend the National Lotteries Act to clarify the procedures required to appoint acting chairs of the NLC.