Civil society stance against the attack on the national lotteries commission

Friday, 7 February, 2020 - 08:50

The civil society players in South Africa are concerned about an attack that is being directed to the National Lotteries Commission with suggestions that the Board be suspended and the commission be put under administration. This comes after numerous allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) grants funding by GroundUp. These reports cite confidential information regarding funding disbursements and beneficiary details. As civil society, we are concerned that such sensitive information is prone to being accessed by reporters with a mission to fight the NLC. We suppose that there should be regulation that makes it an offence for a distributing agency to reveal details of both grant applications and awarded grants.  Reports and allegations in question are published by journalist Raymond Joseph and the news outlet GroundUp.  It is the feeling of civil society structures that these reports should not affect or involve the commission negatively.

On 10th December 2018, a letter was written by civil society steering committee to the Minister of Trade and Industry and the NLC registering concerns about similar attacks to the NLC.  Unfortunately, our letter was never attended to. The Steering Committee of NGO Movement Revitalization Process, wishes to raise its concern about the attack and whatever issues raised by the GroundUp news.  At present, we do not find justifiable reasons to put NLC under administration, since no irregularities have been found by the Auditor General in recent years. And we are aware that the NLC received a clean audit for several past years. We, therefore, do not understand the call for putting the NLC under administration.  We feel that this is just an attempt to destabilize the operations in the NLC, thus negatively affecting the civil society organizations.  It is also disturbing that Dean Macpherson, the Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister for Trade and Industry, last week wrote to Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel, asking him to place the NLC under administration and to dismiss its board.
 
At the same time, SANGOCO, as the national body representing civil society in the country, received several calls from CSOs throughout the country citing concerns on effects the call to place NLC under administration will have to civil society organizations that depend on NLC for funding. SANGOCO National leadership met in the evening of February 5th after receiving calls from various civil society structures and disturbing articles from institutions like GroundUp and the letter written by DA Member of Parliament to the Minister. The organization wishes to put it on record that SANGOCO leadership is extremely concerned about these attacks on the integrity of NLC, a progressive structure set up by Government to enable the civil society to deal with poverty, underdevelopment and inequality. We further note with concern the call to place the NLC under administration and to dismiss the entire Board.
 
To this end SANGOCO wishes also to raise our objection to putting NLC under administration and dismissing the Board, as this is an attempt to reverse the democratic gains of our Government. President Ramaphosa’s administration has committed itself to work closer with the civil society sector, and NLC is one of the critical partners in shaping the transformation agenda of the social sector. Next month in March 2020, President Ramaphosa is convening a national social sector summit and NLC is one of the major stakeholders. Therefore, any attempt of destabilizing the operations of the NLC will work against this good intention of the President.
 
As a result of the attacks directed to the NLC, SANGOCO and the Steering Committee of NGO Movement Revitalization Process have decided that they are going to mobilize the broader civil society and convene a national march to the office of the Minister of Trade and Industry and NLC in an attempt to register our concerns and suggest solutions to this state of affairs.
 
We, however, appeal to the minister to deal with this matter in a manner that does not destroy civil society sector by hitting on the NLC. Looking forward to amicable solutions
 
SANGOCO has over the years played an important part in championing the cause of the disadvantaged and down trodden masses of our country. In this regard the organization continue being involved in events where the issue of poverty and social inequality are topical. As you might be aware SANGOCO was formed out of a political decision in our country so as to lead and drive Non-Governmental Organizations’ issues and has chapters and structures at various local, provincial and national processes. When the government came into office in 1994 it had a mandate to end poverty. The plan was to do this by meeting basic needs, economic restructuring, creating a democratic state and strengthening society. SANGOCO is all about supporting this government in achieving its goals.

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