The Lotteries Commission goes to court to force the Minister to…

The National Lottery Commission has gone to court seeking an urgent order to force Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel to appoint a new board before the current members’ terms expire on March 31 .

Alternatively, the Commission wants Patel to extend the terms of the remaining three board members until a new board is appointed.

The NLC seeks mandamus, an order to force a government official to perform his official duties.

This is the latest round of litigation by the NLC against Patel, who oversees the lottery. The request from NLC Commissioner Thabang Mampane came days after Patel told parliament he had educated his lawyers to terminate the terms of the three remaining members of the NLC Board of Directors and soon after the nominations and appointments firm for new members of the NLC Board of Directors.

There is growing speculation that Patel will fire the board and possibly place the scandal NLC under administration. The current board no longer a quorum following the resignation last year of William Huma after facing evidence of alleged corruption uncovered by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), and the recent death of Muthuhadini Madzivhandila.

Even if Patel extends the terms of the remaining members, the board’s failure to reach a quorum could affect its ability to carry out its statutory duties, said a source with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be appointed because they were not mandated. talk to the media.

NLC Commissioner Thabang Mampane argues in her court affidavit that Patel’s failure to appoint a new board would have serious consequences as it would have a severe impact on the NLC’s ability to operate and distribute funds. .

“While the council may entrust management or other functions, or delegate its powers or duties to the commissioner or the Commission, the ultimate responsibility rests with the council for the exercise of those functions,” Mampane said. “However, if the council is non-existent, no delegation or assignment of such functions can be made or supervised.”

She added: “It will cripple the whole lotteries law and deprive good causes of the distributions of funds they depend on.”

The appointment of a new lottery operator would also be affected as the NLC board plays a key role in the process, she said. The license of the current operator, Ithuba, expires next year. “Not even a temporary license can be issued by the minister without consulting the council,” Mampane said.

There has not been a permanent chairman of the NLC board since the end of Alfred Nevhutanda’s 11-year term in November 2020. GroundUp revealed last week how non-profit organizations that received lottery grants contributed millions of rand, directly and indirectly, to help pay for a lavish 27 million rand mansion for Nevhutanda.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition has already interviewed and shortlisted three people for the position of chairman of the NLC board of directors – one has since died – and submitted a report to Patel. But parliament on Tuesday accepted a resolution from the ANC chief whip calling for the report to be sent back to the committee “for further consideration”.

In another ongoing lawsuit, the NLC has appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) leave to appeal a High Court decision upholding Patel’s authority to investigate corruption involving the Commission.

The Court had ruled that the minister was legally entitled to open an investigation in 2020 into allegations of corruption in the awarding of grants by the NLC. DM

First published by GroundUp.

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