Give me my Lotto money

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Outspoken cultural activist and arts skills trainer Freddie Nyathela has taken on the National Lottery Distribution Fund.

Nyathela accuses the fund of defaming him when it rejected his application for funding amid claims that he's unable to administer donations properly.

In a letter rejecting the South African Roadies Association (Sara), of which Nyathela is president, the Lottery fund says: "At a meeting of the Arts Distributing Agency, your application for funding was considered.

"We regret to advise that your application for funding was declined due to the following reason - a lack of financial controls over administration and implementation of donations as evidenced in the audited financial statements of December 31 2005 and December 31 2006 the agency deems it too risky."

A furious Nyathela dismissed the reason for rejecting his organisation's application for funding and the insinuation that he was unable to administer donor funds appropriately.

Nyathela said: "This rejection of the latest Sara application for funding is based on two things: jealousy and the animosity of some members of the agency because Sara, as a skills training organisation for young people in the live events sector, is unique and because of the Lotto funds gripe because in 2003 Sara staged a six hour sit-in at the agency until they released funds allocated to us.

"The money they did not want to release then was part of the R900000 that was given to us to buy Sara House. Some members of the agency have not forgiven us for that action until this day."

Sara is a Newtown-based live events training organisation for the youth, particularly from disadvantaged programmes.

It has an extensive network and links to overseas organisations with similar programmes.

Majorie Ledwaba, manager of the arts, culture and heritage agency at the Lotto fund, referred queries to Sershan Naidoo, who was unavailable for comment.