Mpumalanga host National Lotteries Commission PICE
The National Lotteries Commission held its Post Indaba Stakeholder Engagement (PICE) in Mpumalanga as part of its drive of going to all the country’s provinces to engage and also educate its beneficiaries. The event saw all the decision makers from the highest office gracing our beautiful province with all members of the board honouring the gathering except for one. The board members were accompanied by top management staff led by the National Commissioner Thabang Charlotte Mampane.
In attendance were the National Lotteries Commission team, traditional leaders, media representatives, officials from the public sector then the lottery grant beneficiaries coming throughout the province being the majority on the day. The event was held at Ingwenyama Conference and Sports Resort in White River and it was opened by the board chair, Professor Alfred Nevhutanda who delivered the keynote address. The chair first introduced his fellow colleagues on the board then expressed his disappointed for not being able to get Eric Mabuza and his wife Charmaine to be part of the event due to business commitments. Mabuza and his wife are the founders of ITHUBA which took over as the operator of Lottery in 2015.
Nevhutanda gave background knowledge on how lottery was founded by the former president Thabo Mbeki and further educated the audience on some of the real reason behind its formation. Lotteries commission was formed to generate funds to support local NGOs which were heavily dependent on foreign donations at the time, coming with lots of conditions, Nevhutanda explained. The chair hailed the beauty of the province whilst expressing his ideas on
how the province can be marketed for tourism through hosting annual camps similar to the Bushfire of Swaziland. He further assured the attendees that Mpumalanga is not too small to be recognised.
The chair expressed his satisfaction on the progress made in the province in terms of its share to the national fund. According to the chair, Mpumalanga and Limpopo were the lowest recipients of the fund when he took over in 2009. Mpumalanga jumped from a below 1% in 2009 to 8% in 2017. In closing he pleaded with those who are already benefiting to share their knowledge with others who want a share to the cake before pleading with the recipients not to misappropriate funds. Before leaving the podium he encouraged everyone present to go play lottery to stand a chance of being part of history with the jackpot being the highest in the history of the lottery (100 million Rands) then he commended the NGOs for the great job which they do out of passion.
As part of the day’s proceeding, the commissioner Thabang Charlotte Mampane took to the podium to educate those in attendance on how lottery works and how much gets budgeted. The commissioner called on the Chief Operations Officer Phillemon Letwaba and two other senior managers to join her on stage. According to the commissioner over 20 Billion Rand have been distributed over the years and the current budget stand on 1.5 Billion Rand for the year which must be shared among the 9 provinces. Each year the national lotteries commission identifies top priority sectors to be given first preference when funding and for this year those priority sectors are arts – crafts, green projects (recycling), biodiversity projects and small scale agricultural projects. The audience was afforded an opportunity to ask questions and the panel provided detailed answers. Shirley Mawelela from Nkomazi Municipality pleaded with the commission to scrap out funding events in trenches since most events are once off or happen over a short period of time.
The team also introduced the Society Lotteries which can be used by NGOs to raise funds for their organisations through event ticket selling and price giveaways. The COO Phillemon Letwaba reminded the attendees that applications are now accepted throughout the year and further shared good news that funding payout is now strictly 60 days max upon approval. He then emphasized that the cooling period still stands which is the 12months waiting period after receiving funding before qualifying for another funding. The highlight of the day was the presentations from the beneficiaries who came to share their success stories and how lotteries helped their course. Those selected beneficiaries were Cleopas Maseko of Thembelethu Nkomazi, Ermelo Community Radio (VOCFM 102.9) Station Manager Ntokozo Siluma, and Boike Gama from Msogwaba representing sport.
The University of Mpumalanga which recently got funding to build a world class sporting facility was also represented by the Dean of students, Dr Paul Maminza. The event was a great success and the audience was warned to watch out against those people who go around claiming to be agents of lottery whilst they not. Lottery has no agents and the Mpumalanga team led by Mzwandile Ngubane was brought forward to be seen by the audience. After a wrap up the audience was entertained by Mpumalanga Praise (gospel group founded by Sipho Makhabane) and two traditional group all being beneficiaries of the lottery fund.