Even though it might not have been taken lightly, the decision by Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa to suspend the national lottery ought to be lamented.
This, not only because the development holds dire implications for stakeholders whose businesses are a by-product of the lottery, but also because there seems no compelling sense that the government pursued the temporary option with determination.
From a glance, there is a sense instead that the whole saga has so generated adverseness among the key parties to the dispute that national interest has taken a back seat to point-scoring.
Surely a special law underpinning a temporary arrangement should be fast-tracked to deal with the extraordinary circumstances arising out of the legal impasse over the appointment of the new operator?
As is known, Gidani could not take over the running of the lottery on April 1 because of a court ruling that overturned the minister's decision. This because National Lotteries Board had failed to investigate whether Gidani's shareholders included political office bearers.
We believe the minister must not only take responsibility for the mess - which he hasn't to date - but also urgently devise a contingency plan to reinstate a game much loved by millions of South Africans.