Lottery spends millions fighting former employees

The National Lotteries Commission has already spent R5.7 million in only one of its legal battles

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The National Lotteries Commission has spent millions of rands fighting legal battles against former employees. Archive photo: Raymond Joseph

The National Lotteries Commission has, since 2016, spent over R8 million in litigation against former employees, most of whom had claimed that they were unfairly dismissed.

This includes over R5.7 million in a legal battle with a former employee. Mzukisi Makatse was suspended and accused of insubordination after he refused to sign off on a payment of R6 million in 2017 for a proactively funded grant for the Buyel’Ekhaya Festival in East London.

GroundUp last week revealed how the NLC has spent tens of millions of rands on litigation and other fees to lawyers since 2016, including almost R8.2 million on litigation against former staff members who are suing the Commission for unfair dismissal.

Here is recent NLC litigation involving former staff and, in one case, an existing staff member:

  • Judge IT Stretch recently dismissed Makatse’s claim for R10.3 million, and awarded costs against him. But Makatse says that he plans to take the judgment on appeal.
  • Sershan Naidoo recently won his case in Labour Court. The judge declared his dismissal “procedurally and substantively unfair” and also ordered the NLC to reinstate him with full back pay. Lawyers acting for Naidoo, who has not yet returned to work, are currently in discussions with the NLC about implementing the judgement. The NLC says its costs in this matter were R380,000.
  • Tshililo Cordelia Ndonyane has applied to the Labour Court for a judicial review of her dismissal. Although a date for the hearing is yet to be set, the NLC has already spent just over R716,000 on legal fees.
  • Iveda Smith, a former NLC Distributing Agency member, was unsuccessful in her appeal in the Labour Court against her dismissal. The NLC spent just over R955,000 on the case.
  • Kelebogile Mokgathla was successful and awarded costs in the Labour Appeal Court, after the NLC tried to transfer her from its head office in Pretoria to KZN. She is still employed by the NLC, which incurred costs of just over R402,000 in this matter.

The list of cases and costs given to Parliament exclude cases involving Tshepo Chuene and Sello Qhino, who are both contesting their axing, claiming their dismissals were unfair. Both are waiting for dates for when their matters will come before the CCMA.

TOPICS:  Corruption Labour National Lotteries Commission

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