Response to Raymond Joseph interview on SABC news on 6 July 2020

For the past three years, the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has been the subject of a campaign of relentless vilification by online publication GroundUp and Raymond Joseph. This sensationalized campaign has harmed the NLC in its normal course of business and defamed its leadership.

What GroundUp’s biased and subjective campaign over the past number of years has failed to do is to mention that over 90% of NLC’s grants to worthy and needy causes are beyond reproach and have improved the lives of poor people throughout the country in a multiplicity of projects undertaken by non-profit organizations (NPO’s).

Although the system of distribution at times meets with challenges, it is largely successful and uplifting for communities across the country, and the NLC’s focus on continuous improvement works to address areas of weakness. GroundUp has only focused upon the small minority of dysfunctional projects. This is because they took a decision a few years ago to target the NLC and smear its leadership.

Their modus operandi has been to blow up any infraction they subjectively identify in one of the projects as evidence of the NLC being rotten to the core and then to spread it into other publications and on social media in order to inflict maximum damage on the organization.

There have been some instances of mismanagement and poor accounting in some NLC funded projects. However, GroundUp and Joseph are fully aware that independent investigations into these few problem projects are at an advanced stage and that the NLC is fully participant in them.

The NLC continues with efforts to rectify the issues affecting these projects, varied as they are. GroundUp’s latest attack on the NLC’s integrity relates to the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The NLC’s selection of a wide range of organizations across the country to receive direct grants to fight the pandemic received nothing but insults and negative press from GroundUp. They accuse the NLC of giving grants to organizations that have committed unlawful acts in the past. This is simply not true.

The long list of organizations which received COVID-19 relief funds will be made public in due course by agreement with Minister Ebrahim Patel. Since alerting the Press Council to GroundUp and Joseph’s methods of sensationalizing and editorializing we note that for the first time that he (Joseph) has acknowledged the good work of the beneficiaries of the NLC in his interview on SABC on 6 July 2020.

GroundUp and Joseph have stopped at nothing to demonize the NLC as being systematically corrupt. This crusade has been executed through publishing negative, false and damaging stories about the NLC. They have intimidated beneficiaries and breached the integrity of NLC grantee information access procedures by using unlawful means to prove their self-fulfilling thesis.

Issued by: National Lotteries Commission

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