The Board of Directors of the National Lotteries Commission no longer has a quorum

With only three members remaining, the board of directors of the National Lotteries Commission no longer has a quorum.

File photo: Ashraf Hendricks

  • With only three members remaining, the board of directors of the National Lotteries Commission no longer has a quorum.
  • This follows the death of a board member this week and the sudden resignation of another late last year.
  • The terms of the current members expire next month.

The board of the National Lotteries Commission no longer has a quorum after the death of a member this week and the sudden resignation of another late last year.

The board has not had a full-time chair since scandal the term of its former president Alfred Nevhutanda ended in November 2020.

The death of Muthuhadini Madzivhandila and the resignation of William Huma mean that there are only three members left on the NLC board. For quorum there must be at least four members who are not part of the public service, including an accountant and a lawyer.

Madzivhandila was one of three people on a shortlist for the post of chairman suggested by the Trade and Industry (TIC) Parliamentary Portfolio Committee after interviewing more than 40 candidates for the job more than a year ago.

Other members of the board are Executive Director Zandile Brown, Trade and Industry Minister Representative Doris Dondur and Yawant Gordhan.

Brown has been largely marginalized and “kept out,” according to a source with personal acquaintances who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The current terms of Board members end in March 2022. The appointment of a new Board and Chair is urgent as the Board will play a key role in the process of appointing a new lottery operator when Ithuba’s lucrative license ends in May 2023.

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The relationship between Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel and the NLC has been litigated and has degenerated to the point that there is no contact between them beyond the exchange of letters. lawyers or official letters written for them by their lawyers.

GroundUp reported earlier this week that the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria had fired a request by the NLC to overturn the appointment of independent investigators appointed by Patel in June 2020 to investigate corruption involving the National Lottery Commission.

Patel suffered a setback in 2021 after trying to renew the three-month term of Brown, whom he appointed after Nevhutanda’s term ended, as interim chairman of the board.

The already strained relationship between Patel and the NLC worsened after some board members wrote to Patel to oppose Brown’s nomination. This was followed by successful litigation by the NLC to rescind her appointment as Acting Chair of the Board.

The NLC had argued that not only was the minister not authorized by law to appoint Brown, but that it was an improper action.

READ | Judge rejects Lottery Commission’s bid to have corruption probe declared ‘unlawful’

“Not only is she [Brown] an employee of the minister’s department, but she is also the minister’s representative on the board,” the NLC argued. “However, as chair, she is the guardian of the board’s impartiality.

The process for appointing a new Chairman of the Board should have been relatively simple and quick; After deciding on the shortlist, the ICT Parliamentary Portfolio Committee submitted a report to Parliament at the end of 2020. Once Parliament has debated the report, it will be forwarded to the Minister to choose from among the names on the shortlist. restricted list.

Instead, the process bogged down as it became bogged down in internal ANC politics, with a faction within the ruling party claiming a candidate it clearly backed had never been interviewed for the position. This would help explain why the process was not completed 13 months after the report was presented to Parliament.

Responding in September 2021 to a written question DA Deputy Shadow Minister for Trade and Industry, Mat Cuthbert, Patel confirmed that the Portfolio Committee report was submitted to Parliament in December 2020. “The Department is awaiting recommendations from Parliament as required by the legislation,” Patel said.

The issue also fell on the order paper in Parliament – controlled by the ANC, which has a parliamentary majority – from fifth place in March 2021 to a “below the line” 27 by December 10, 2021.

ANC Deployment Committee Minutes released by the Zondo Commission reveal that the nominations had been discussed by the committee on November 9, 2020.

The minutes reveal neither the names of the candidates nor the details of the discussion. They merely state that the positions of NLC President and “Non-Executive Position” of the NLC were discussed.

“There was a presentation that was supported by both the president and the board,” the minutes read.

Cuthbert, who pressed Patel to complete the process, said: “This matter is long overdue for resolution. But it calls into question the legality of the decisions of a board that no longer has a quorum, and if one of its decisions must be made after consideration.

“The NLC has been in a terrible state for years and these delays haven’t helped.”

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