New National Lotteries Commission Board appointed

Three new board members named

By Raymond Joseph

2 May 2023

A new board has been appointed for the National Lotteries Commission. Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks

The Cabinet has approved the appointment of a new board for the National Lotteries Commission, after the term of the interim board that was appointed for a year in 2022 ended.

The new board replaces the four-member board appointed by Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel in March last year for a one-year term which ended on 31 March. The new board will serve a five-year term.

Patel has retained three members of the previous interim board. They are Beryl Ferguson, who is a businesswoman as well as the deputy chair of the South African National Biodiversity Institute and a former Cope MP; Precious Mvulane, an accountant, auditor and businesswoman; and Willie Hofmeyr, former head of the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit.

Professor Barney Pityana, who was appointed board chair in September last year on a five-year contract, continues in that position.

Three new board members have been appointed to bolster the capacity and skills of the NLC board. They are Lionel October the former director-general of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), Thembinkosi Bonakele the former head of the Competition Commission, and Irene Ramafola the former chief financial officer of the Department of Economic Development (which was merged into the DTIC in 2019) and a current director of the South African National Accreditation System.

As a former director of the DTIC, October was tasked by Patel with dealing with the NLC as evidence of institutionalised fraud and corruption came tumbling out into the open.

Patel subsequently appointed him acting NLC commissioner last year for a three-month period, before the appointment of new commissioner Jodi Scholtz in February.

During his short tenure as commissioner, October instituted a series of investigations into NLC corruption. He also instituted disciplinary hearings against former NLC commissioner Thabang Mampane, former chief operating officer Phillemon Letwaba, a key player in the looting of the lottery, and other top members of the NLC’s executive. Letwaba resigned with immediate effect rather than face the inquiries.

The appointment of the new board is the latest move by Patel to stabilise and clean up the NLC, which had been overwhelmed by fraud, corruption and nepotism in recent years.