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Article compiled and posted by: White Nation correspondent Johannesburg   August 03   2019









MILLIONS of gullible South Africans que on a weekly basis to buy National Lottery tickets in the faint hope that someday their pot of gold will be waiting at the end of that South African promised rainbow. Millions of rands are spent every week to fill that pot o’ gold. For many it literally takes months and years before they are lucky enough to win a few scraps falling from the edge of the now overfilled dream.

BUT to some the Lottery is more than a dream- it became a “get rich quick” scheme whereby they illegally siphon millions of rands to their own best interests. And as always will it be those white collar criminals on top that have the keys  to the vaults that  normally are the ones looting it.And South Africa have but it’s full quota of  political appointed sleaze-buckets having their paws- or hoofs- deep into the money bin. Have we not seen this culture already with the government “big wigs” that have easy access to tenders and the national  treasury doing the same?

IT did not take long for this looting culture to also finds it’s way to the National Lottery as well- especially with so much “undeclared” funds flowing uncontrolled on a weekly basis into the money bin. Greed and selfish enrichment quickly bedeviled the guardians of the National gold billion to shout “jackpot” on a continuous basis now as they launder literally millions of rands through the “back door” into their own private ventures. The National Lottery now are being exploited to wash money. While South Africans are getting poorer these greedy vultures are getting richer. Undeclared conflicts of interest and incomplete or shoddy construction characterize many projects funded by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC). Our research uncovers what is possibly only a fraction of the questionable grants involving Lottery money. Over the next week, we will publish stories describing how companies linked to Phillemon Letwaba, the NLC’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), are involved in Lottery deals with tens of millions of rands. This follows our publication of previous stories exposing corruption and incompetence involving NLC projects. Letwaba’s brother was implicated in one such project.



LEDWABA….digging in deep into the LOTTO funds

Several strategies underpin these projects:

First, money is directed to them, making use of a 2015 amendment to the Lotteries Act that allows the Minister of Trade and Industry, the NLC or its board to identify projects to be funded without receiving applications. This is known as “proactive funding. ” The problem with proactive funding is that there is often no rigorous prior scrutiny of the projects awarded money by NLC officials.

Second, the projects are often based in towns far from large cities, where reporters are less likely to venture.

Third, the appointment of service providers for multi-million-rand construction projects, like construction and engineering companies, is left to the recipients of the funding. In contrast to government departments, these projects often do not have transparent tender processes. The NLC’s own audits seldom check for conflicts of interest on the projects themselves. This is despite regulations of the Lotteries Act requiring organisations that receive grants to procure “goods or services” using a “transparent and competitive process”. “The processes of the NLC are such that funded entities independently source services from the market to achieve whatever it is that they have been funded for,” the NLC’s communications head Ndivhuho Mafela said in an email in response to questions. “Technically, therefore, the NLC would not be aware of information about such service providers.” And, often, the proactive funding is given to non-profit companies with no track record. These are formed by accountants or attorneys and made tax compliant. They are then sold “off-the-shelf” and ready for business, with the original directors who set them up resigning and new directors being appointed.

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Kuruman’s Lottery-funded projects

For our latest stories, we visited Kuruman in the Northern Cape to investigate three different projects: an old age home, a drug rehabilitation center and a library and museum meant to celebrate the life and work of sangoma, author and African storyteller Credo Mutwa. Almost R60m was granted to the three projects, but two are still under construction almost two years after they received Lottery funding, while the museum has a single exhibit and the library’s shelves are empty.

Responding to a question about the delays in construction, NLC spokesperson Ndivhuho Mafela said: “It is in the nature of construction that you have unplanned delays which impact on the overall completion of the facilities. This is however reported regularly by our engineers and we are satisfied with the progress on all the facilities that we are building. We have, however, indicated that all projects should be handed over to the communities this year.”

Links to NLC’s COO

PKT Consulting Engineers, which is involved in the construction of Lethabong Old Age, and the recently completed Credo Mutwa Museum and Library, has links to NLC Chief Operating Officer Phillemon Letwaba and members of his family. Letwaba, his wife Daisy, and his brother Johannes, as well as their father Oupa, who has since died, were all directors of PKT before they resigned their directorships on March 1, 2017. On the same day that the Letwabas resigned, Themba Mabundza was appointed as the sole director of PKT. Mabundza, 37, is an active director in 54 different companies across a wide spectrum of industries. Two of the companies of which he is a director have received grants from the Lottery.

One, Life for Impact in the 21st Century, was awarded R8m on 19 April 2017, and a further R2 106 800 just over a month later on 31 May 2017, a total of R10 106 800. The grants were made via the NLC’s Arts, Culture and Natural Heritage sector. The first payment to Life for Impact was made about six weeks after the purchase of an existing non-profit company, which appears to have been bought “off-the-shelf” as a tax compliant entity. The three original directors resigned and Mabundza, Ivonne Sibongile Kheswa and Patricia Dikeledi Nkosi were then appointed as directors on 3 March 2017. Zibsimanzi, a second off-the-shelf company where Mabundza is a director, received a R4.8 million grant from the NLC’s Sports sector on 21 November 2017. The grant was made about eight months after Mabundza, Rebotile Mashaba and Judith Nonhlanhla were appointed directors on 4 May 2017.

It is unclear what projects the funds granted to Life for Impact and Zibsimanzi were for. A search of both turned up no NLC-funded or any other projects that they are – or have been – involved in. The NLC has not responded to our query asking for details. Kaone Wethu, a second company involved in the construction of the museum and old age home, also has links to business associates of Letwaba. One of its former directors, Keneilwe Constance Maboa, is either still an active director or has resigned some of her directorships in at least five companies linked to Letwaba’s family. These include Mosadi Ditshabeng Modjadji, where she is a still a co-director with Letwaba’s younger brother, Thabo. She was also a co-director of Ironbridge Traveling Agency and Events and Redtaq with Thabo Letwaba before they resigned in March and June respectively.

The current listed director of Kaone Wethu is Karabo Charles Sithole, a former director of PKT, Redtaq, and Ironbridge. These companies are or were at one time linked to Letwaba or members of his family. Phillemon Letwaba served as the NLC’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) before being appointed COO in 2017. For at least two years he was simultaneously both CFO and the NLC’s acting executive on all grants. A leaked document, compiled three years ago by a concerned high-up NLC whistle-blower, emphasizes the power Letwaba wielded through holding these joint positions. The whistle-blower also raised the potential for “conflicts of interest” and the “manipulation” of grants. “The sudden urgency of approving so many proactive funding applicants, whilst long-standing grant agreements are not being finalized for payment, are worrisome.”

In November last year, GroundUp revealed how Upbrand Properties, a company in which Letwaba’s brother, Johannes, was the sole director, signed a R15m contract to build a rehabilitation center near Pretoria. Although Johannes Letwaba subsequently resigned his directorship, Companies and Intellectual Property Commission records confirm that he was a director at the time of the signing of the multi-million-rand contract. Despite this, the NLC issued a statement clearing its COO of any conflict of interest. “The NLC follows strict prescribed processes and continually encourages its employees to disclose matters of conflict of interest where applicable.” “It has since engaged individuals, who may have been highlighted in some of the issues raised around the implementation and funding of the project [the rehab], and is satisfied with explanations provided.”

The NLC has also released a statement saying it received a clean audit for 2018/19. Letwaba’s wife, Daisy, and Melanie du Plessis are directors of a company called Signature Kitchen Design that was registered on 20 September 2016. Du Plessis is the girlfriend of a controversial lawyer who is associated with companies and organisations that have received tens of millions of rands in Lottery funding. In response to questions about Letwaba, the NLC wrote: “We have been advised by the official that he has referred the matter to his lawyers but he has denied any conflict of interest on this matter.” Letwaba’s lawyer later said in an email that Letwaba had been given insufficient time to respond to our questions, but nevertheless said his client had nothing further to add to the NLC’s responses. (We gave Letwaba ample time. He has had sight of the questions sent to the NLC for several days. Despite this we gave him an additional day after receiving this letter. We have received no response.)

His wife also did not respond to questions we sent to Letwaba’s lawyer for her. After becoming aware of this writer’s visit to Kuruman, the NLC distributed a media statement claiming that I had approached Lottery-funded projects “requesting sensitive information”. And, despite the fact that I had identified myself to all the people I spoke to in Kuruman as a journalist on assignment for GroundUp, the NLC alleged that I was falsely “claiming to be from a mine that is working in partnership with the NLC”. The NLC statement added: “We encourage beneficiaries who have been approached in this manner or by anybody claiming to be a representative of the NLC to report this to the organisation’s fraud line.” The South African Editors Forum subsequently issued a statement condemning the NLC’s media release. Themba Mabundza failed to respond to questions sent to his official PKT email address. Melanie du Plessis did not respond to questions sent to her via WhatsApp. We will publish part two of this series on Monday.

The role of proactive funding

All three of the projects in Kuruman were “proactively” funded using a 2015 amendment to the Lotteries Act that makes provision for the Minister of Trade and Industry, the NLC or its board to identify projects to be funded without receiving applications. There are two types of proactive funding: planning and unplanned. Planning proactive funding starts with research before approval from the Commission, the Minister and the Board. Unplanned proactive funding is a response to emergencies and disasters. It’s unclear why Life for Impact should have needed proactive funding on such short notice. Since the amendment hundreds of millions of rands have been granted via proactive funding, with much of it going towards infrastructural projects. These have included old age homes, drug rehabilitation facilities, schools and early childhood development facilities. For example, the NLC proactively funded 20 projects valued at R285m in 2017 and 2018, according to its Integrated Report covering that period. “The majority of projects funded under proactive funding were in the Charities Sector at 57%, followed by Sports at 27%, Arts and Miscellaneous at 14% and 2% respectively,” according to the report. “Most of the funding under the Charities Sector was for the construction of Old Age Homes and a Drug Rehabilitation Centre”.

The NLC has funded several drug rehabilitation centers around South Africa. One near Pretoria received R27.5m in proactive funding. The project is mired in controversy and at least R20m is unaccounted for. It is now the subject of litigation and under investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry and the NLC’s Board. Another rehab near Nelspruit has never been built, despite receiving R22m in Lottery grants dating back to 2016. GroundUp also revealed how the NLC used proactive funding to pay R20m to two companies, associated with controversial lawyer Lesley Ramulifho, to build toilets at schools in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. It later transpired that the NLC may have paid twice as much for the toilets than necessary. The Democratic Alliance DA spokesperson on trade and industry, Dean Macpherson, last year called for an investigation of the proactive fund, after claiming that it was being used as a “slush fund” to enrich very few people. “We know that there are shady characters that exist in the murkiness of proactive funding,” Macpherson said. This resulted in the then Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies instructing the NLC’s board to investigate ‘allegations of fraud and corruption involving Lottery grants’.






EDITOR’s footnote:


WITH all this evidence and allegations in hand- the question is when will we as the normal public see these shady characters, the political affiliated thieves and looters ever being brought to trail? Zuma is still floating around, the Guptas are still laughing their heads off, Tom Mojane still are getting a fat salary, Jeff Radebe and the Nelspuit mob are still conducting “rife” business-why is all the CEO’s of the SAA, Transnet, SABC and Eskom that stole billions of rands still at large- and not dragged before justice? Why is Thabo Mbeki, Pnuel Maduna and Tina Joemat- Petersen still walking free?  When will SARS investigate Ramaphosa and his brother’s own murky medical scheme businesses ? Why is Ace Magashule and David Mabusa still roaming free outside the confinements of the correctional service system? Why do we still see Floyd Shivambo’s smiling smirk in parliament and not in a criminal line-up? Why  is all the conspirators that stole more than R 400 trillion rands worth of gold from the Federal Reserve Bank in 1994 and siphoned  it through City Bank to New York not been apprehended yet? Why is FW DE Klerk and his co-conspirators such as Roelf Meyer still walking around as a free men? Speaking of the Fed- when will we see a full audit ordered on the Cabal running the Fed- a private company that was foreclosed on December 25 2013 already- but still are dictating South Africa’s financial status and interest rates? 

White Nation has been tracking a total of 326 cases involving literally BILLIONS of rands that have been looted, laundered or wasted by government officials or ANC-affiliated white collar criminals. But not ONE of the culprits were ever apprehended or been served a warrant of arrest?  When will the likes Ramaphosa , Kieswetter and Shamila Batohi stop playing political “correct” games  and start investigating and persecuting these crooks- making sure their arses also get whooped by the same law we as normal citizens are subjected to?  When will we see them prosecuted and jailed the same way the normal public are? How come are these ” high profile” white collar criminals always “protected” by a barrage of hundreds and hundreds  “investigations, commissions of inquiry ” and political bureaucracy  that on the end of the day leads to no-where? Phillemon Letwaba, is only yet another sordid tale of corruption on a very, very long list of notorious ANC-affiliated  white collar criminals that has been plagued South Africa for 25 long years now…and surely he will not be the last. The corruption hippo is very big…and Ledwaba  only forms a small part of the ears of a huge corruption network still visible above the surface.    Why is it so that the small crooks are jailed while the big crooks are left alone to loot the country’s coffers empty? This now have been going on since 1966 already-and the current illegal ANC regime only took over the “mob racketeering business ” where the thieving National Party left off.  –Ed)