South Africa: Big Names Shortlisted for Lottery Chair

18 November 2020

Alfred Nevhutanda's "scandal-ridden" term ends on 30 November

A shortlist of three candidates for the soon-to-be-vacant chair of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has been made public by Ebrahim Patel, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTI).

They are former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, struggle stalwart and cleric Reverend Frank Chikane, and human rights lawyer, academic, and theologian Barney Pityana. (Links are to their CVs.)

The three were chosen from a long list of 41 applicants by a special committee headed by Judge Dennis Davis.

The names of the three people selected by the independent panel were then considered by an inter-ministerial panel, supported by senior officials from the DTI.

If there are no valid objections, Madonsela, Chikane, and Pityana will be interviewed by members of the Trade and Industry and Competition Parliamentary Portfolio Committee to replace the incumbent Professor Alfred Nevhutanda, whose 11-year tenure ends on 30 November.

The NLC has been engulfed by allegations of corruption, nepotism, and maladministration. The Democratic Alliance's shadow minister for Trade and Industry Dean Macpherson, who has described Nevhutanda as "scandal-ridden" recently called on him to resign, in light of the findings of an investigation into NLC corruption ordered by Minister Patel.

Kavisha Patel of Corruption Watch has been monitoring the appointment process. She has written to Duma Nkosi, the chair of the portfolio committee, urging him to allow at least seven days for a public participation process, as had earlier been agreed to by the committee. During this period people should be able to make submissions raising objections to any of the candidates, she said.

But, with a tight deadline for a 1 December appointment to be made, Pillay noted that there were severe time restraints.

Pillay said Corruption Watch welcomed the steps taken "to ensure that the process ... is transparent, fair and based on merit".

"The establishment of an independent panel, as well as a ministerial panel, to review and shortlist candidates resulted in a list of individuals of proven integrity and public service being nominated to Parliament for interviewing and further deliberations," said Pillay.

"Minister Patel implemented a number of recommendations made by Corruption Watch ... and has set a positive precedent for future NLC appointments."

"We strongly believe that we can safeguard our public institutions from corruption by ensuring that the selection proceedings ... are transparent, based on recruitment best practice and inclusive of public participation."

UPDATE after publication: The portfolio committee has made a invited comments from the public. These may be submitted to Mr A Hermans at ahermans@parliament.gov.za or Mr T Madima at tmadima@parliament.gov.za by no later than Tuesday, 24 November 2020.

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