Lotto minister could be charged

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

Beleaguered Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mphahlwa might have broken the law by authorising hefty bonuses for the National Lotteries Board (NLB).

In fact, the DA is threatening legal action to right the wrong.

Along with other opposition parties, the DA is questioning the awarding of the bonuses because the minister stopped the Lotto in March.

This was after he was challenged in court over his new preferred operator, Gidani Consortium.

NLB board spokesman Sershan Naidoo confirmed this week that Mphahlwa had authorised the 42,4percent performance bonus.

It is this confirmation that has deeply upset the DA.

DA spokesman Pierre Rabie yesterday said they would submit parliamentary questions to probe the situation before deciding on their next step.

"We will discuss the matter in the federal council and consult our legal team.

"We might take legal action should it be established that the increases were illegal," said Rabie.

He said as required by the Public Finance Management Act, the NLB did not have an employee performance management policy to determine bonuses.

But Naidoo said the NLB was not responsible for the breakdown of the lottery system.

However, Section 10 of the Lottery Act clearly mandates the board to advise the minister and his department on all aspects related to running the lottery.

The central issue concerning the increase in the bonuses awarded to lottery board staff was that there was no performance appraisal system in place to warrant the increases.

As such, Naidoo said, a huge increase did not make sense if the lottery system had failed to function in a number of respects.

Naidoo further said a 42,4percent performance bonus increase was warranted by a corresponding increase in staff members.

But Rabie said the staff complement reportedly increased by only 21percent - from 43 to 52.