21 March 2019

South Africa: Lottery Has to Do More With Less

R2 billion distributed in 2017/18, but revenue not keeping up with demand for funding

The National Lotteries Commission says it has to "do more with less" as demand for funding outstrips revenues.

According to the Commission's latest Strategic Plan, it distributes about R2-billion a year to "good causes" in three different sectors: Charities; Sport and Recreation, and Art and Culture. There is also a fourth, "miscellaneous" category for grants that do not fit in the other three sectors.

But because of the increased demand for funding, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund which adjudges applications and distributes grants "has to do more with less," according to the plan.

At the end of March 2018, 12,488 funding applications were "adjudicated"examined and over R2/ billion was disbursed for the 2017/18 year, according to the Lotteries Commission's Integrated Report for 2017/2018.

But revenue received has not increased to meet demand, as the number of non-profit companies has grown since 2010.

As a result, says the Commission, it will take "a more systematic and deliberate approach to grantmaking" and provide money "to targeted projects and programmes that are catalytic in nature that lead to measurable, positive social change and community upliftment."

The good causes that receive Lotteries Commission grants are funded from the weekly ticket sales proceeds that are paid over by the licensed lottery operator, Ithuba, to the Commission, for distribution.

Currently 27% of sales goes to charity. The remaining 73% is used for, among other things, prizes, administration costs and a profit for the operator.

The Lottery has so far distributed about R26 billion to charitable causes since 2002. The biggest beneficiary ever is the South African Sports Confederation & Olympic Committee, which has been allocated a little more than R779 million since 2006.

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