The resignation of Hawks spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi this week, after it emerged he’d received R3m from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) to build a sports centre in Limpopo, is an illustration that the rot inside the lottery agency goes far deeper than many suspected.
In Mulaudzi’s case, he is adamant that this was a simple nonprofit project, and claims of any wrongdoing are part of a "smear campaign".
Still, the DA, which lodged a complaint about Mulaudzi, is correct in saying that, at the very least, this represents a stark conflict of interest. The Hawks, after all, are investigating four cases involving the NLC.
The fact that awkward details like this are emerging is due, in no small part, to a series of articles written by GroundUp, which revealed that a number of lottery grants had been made to entities linked to its own officials. And, in some cases, the "projects" these grants were meant to fund aren’t even close to being built.
More will surely be uncovered after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s proclamation this week authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate corruption and maladministration at the NLC. This won’t please the "lottopreneurs", but it’s about time that another open tap, which has been roundly abused, is finally closed.
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