Uthingo graveyard haunts Jozi

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

"Sorry, no Lotto," reads a sign on an old lottery machine inside Weisskopf TV, a shop at Highgate shopping centre in Industria, Johannesburg.

The owner, Thomas Weisskopf, is one of the many shop owners stuck with the obsolete Uthingo lottery machines.

Gidani, the new lottery service provider, took over from Uthingo last month.

"The lottery paid my bills. Now that the machine is not working, business is bad," said Weisskopf.

He said that he had filled in forms for Gidani's machine in March, but the new machine has still not been delivered.

"When I called them, they told me that I was on a reserve list, whatever that means."

Thomas Mhlanga of Caroline's Frozen Yoghurt at Southgate Mall said customers come to the shop each day to play the lottery, but always left disappointed.

"This old machine is really messing the business up. People used to come here and play the lottery and then buy something else. Now that there's no [working] Lotto [machine], our customers are gone. We are stuck with a useless machine."

Thembi Tulwana, Gidani's corporate executive for public affairs, said the company was committed to providing a further 7000 machines. "We have already provided more than 7500 machines. The people who do not have machines are on the waiting list."

Tulwana said shop owners might spend between five and six weeks on the waiting list.

Lotto player, Joseph Xaba of Aeroton, said: "I have to travel to Diepkloof in Soweto if I want to play. All the places that I used to play at have old machines."