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LOTTERIES BOARD MEET WITH CONCERNED PARTIES (article first published : 2008-06-14)

At a meeting set up by the Department of Trade and Industry on June 9 2008, the National Lotteries Board met with members of the Democratic Alliance’s Trade & Industry, and Social Welfare Portfolio Committees for an information-sharing session around the National Lottery and funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF).

The Board made a presentation on its mandate in terms of the Lotteries Act and clarified the roles of the National Lotteries Board, the National Lottery operator, the Board as the trustee of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), the Distributing Agencies and the Central Applications Office.

The main focus of the meeting was to take the DA members through the grant-making process from application to processing to adjudication by the Distributing Agencies to review by the Oversight Committee to advising of beneficiaries to beneficiaries meeting the conditions of the grant to signing off of documentation by the Distributing Agencies to payment by the National Lotteries Board.

The Board advised that the Distributing Agencies were made up of industry experts appointed by the Minister of Trade and Industry after a process of public nomination. The agency members are engaged in full-time employment elsewhere and meet once or twice a month to adjudicate up to 200 applications at a time. The Board receives in the region of 4,000 applications from charities, 2,000 from sports bodies and about 1,000 from arts organisations. In recent months, the Board has increased its staff complement. Employing more staff would not speed up the process any further as the only people who may take decisions on the applications are the Distributing Agencies.

In order to minimise risk, and since the Board is the trustee of the NLDTF, the Chairperson of the Board has set up an Oversight Committee, in terms of section 5 of the Lotteries Act. This committee of the Board cannot change decisions made by the Distributing Agencies. However, it can review grants made to ensure that due process was followed, there is consistent application of criteria, no conflict of Interest and a consideration of risk.

Some of the issues raised by the DA was the turnaround time of applications, the incapacity of rural NGOs to have polished applications, payment of grants after approval, running costs, no new call for applications yet for 2008. The Board was able to clarify these issues.

There was one organisation which MP Hilda Weber enquired about. This organisation had submitted an application and had not yet had a response to the application. The Board will investigate the application. The Board also welcomed the DA to ask the organisations to liaise directly with the Board who were concerned about their applications.

In a recent press release form the DA, some organisations identified problems they were experiencing with the application process. The Board could investigate those who identified themselves and made available the report to the DA. The Board wants to re-affirm that no applicant should fear victimisation if they raise issues about the application process.

The Board believes it was a successful meeting and reiterates its commitment to endeavour to speed up the application process without compromising the integrity of the process. – Sershan Naidoo, Manager: Beneficiary & Player Relations, & Media Liaison, National Lotteries Board.




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