/ 4 October 2007

Former operator to live with new lottery

Former National Lottery operator Uthingo has no intention of contesting the awarding of the lottery licence to Gidani, company chairperson Barney Pityana said on Thursday.

”We do not agree, but we do not intend to subject the licensing process to further scrutiny by the courts,” Pityana told reporters at Midrand.

Ticket sales for the lottery will therefore go ahead on Friday under Gidani as planned.

Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa awarded the licence to operate the lottery to Gidani last month.

The lottery has been on hold since March this year after Uthingo successfully challenged the awarding the licence to Gidani in the Pretoria High Court. It cited, among other things, the political links of some Gidani board members.

The court ruled in favour of Uthingo, saying the awarding was indeed suspect and contrary to the Lottery Act. It ordered the minister to review his decision and address the concerns raised by Uthingo.

Mpahlwa announced on September 21 that this process resulted in Gidani retaining the license.

Pityana said Uthingo questioned the way the minister had handled the matter.

”We are convinced the minister did nothing that could suggest that a review was done as ordered by the court,” he said. ”But I must state that we do not intend challenging it on legal terms. It is not our desire to cause further delays to the lottery as that would not be in the best interest of the public and the country.”

Uthingo chief executive Oupa Monamodi said the company will cooperate with Gidani for a smooth transition of the lottery operation. It will also help resolve the problem of people in possession of winning tickets bought before the ”old” lottery licence expired.

”People should hold on to their tickets. Processes of refunding should and will be agreed to by all stakeholders concerned,” he said. — Sapa