|The South African National Lottery is to return to action this weekend following months of slumber due to a protracted legal dispute over the operating contract.|
The dispute began when the nation’s Trade and Industry Minister, Mandisi Mpahlwa, awarded empowerment group Gidani the contract to administer the Lottery, spurning former overseer Uthingo, which had run the Lottery since its birth in 2000.
Pretoria’s High Court subsequently placed a hold on operations in March before eventually ruling in favour of Uthingo saying that the contract awarding process was suspect and contrary to the Lottery Act. The Court ordered the Minister to reconsider his decision and address concerns raised by Uthingo.
Last month, Mpahlwa announced that Gidani had retained the license to run the Lottery after some restructuring with Uthingo stating that it would not be contesting the decision.
'We will not challenge the Minister's decision,” said Barney Pityana, Non-Executive Chairman for Uthingo. “We will cooperate with the new license holders to bring this matter to a close.”
Gidani is led by former Transnet Chairman Bongani Khumalo and includes women's group Nozala, black-owned financial services group Vunani Capital, Cosatu's investment arm Kopano Ke Matla, broad-based social groups and Intralot, an Athens-based gaming technology and services company.
Uthingo’s Chief Executive, Oupa Monamodi, said that the company would cooperate with Gidani during the transition period and would also help to resolve problems associated with people possessing winning tickets bought before the earlier lottery license expired.
'People should hold on to their tickets,” said Monamodi. “Processes of refunding will be agreed to by all stakeholders concerned.”