No joy for R42m Lotto ‘winner’ who couldn’t provide his original ticket

30 June 2023 - 15:23
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The public protector found that a Pretoria man who claimed he won R42m couldn't provide the ticket and thus wasn't entitled to winnings. Stock photo.
The public protector found that a Pretoria man who claimed he won R42m couldn't provide the ticket and thus wasn't entitled to winnings. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/tawhy

A man who claimed he had won a R42m lottery jackpot failed to provide the original coupon so Ithuba was unable to verify the numbers he played.

This is one of the findings of the public protector into an allegation the department of trade, industry and competition (DTIC) failed to address a complaint by Alex Magagula against the National Lotteries Commission (NLC). 

In 2018, Magagula lodged a complaint with the public protector alleging he won the Lotto, and when he wasn’t paid what his ticket was worth, he reported the matter to the NLC. However he received no satisfactory feedback.

He said there were conflicting explanations from different employees of the entity.

Magagula alleged he bought a Lotto ticket and subsequently won the jackpot, and on September 9 2016 went to redeem the ticket at a retailer in Gezina, Pretoria.

The Lotto machine jammed while reading the ticket, he said. He alleged he then went to another terminal at the Sinoville post office the next day and was paid R37, while the winning ticket was worth R42m.

In August 2017 he approached the DTIC and provided it with the NLC report, which was acknowledged. He requested a meeting with the department to resolve the matter but as it failed to arrange a meeting, he approached the public protector to intervene

The public protector had to determine whether the DTIC failed to address a complaint lodged by Magagula against the NLC.

During the investigation, the commission provided the public protector with a response letter indicating Magagula’s complaint was received and investigated by the NLC in 2017.

The investigation confirmed his lotto ticket was validated for the amount of R37.50.

The NLC investigation further revealed the initial terminal in Gezina did not validate the complainant’s ticket and it was only validated at Sinoville post office where the correct amount of R37.50 was paid to him.

“Ithuba Holdings, the National Lottery operator, had also confirmed that the coupon presented by the complainant was paid correctly and that his ticket was not a jackpot-winning ticket as he had alleged and the jackpot was not won at the time he bought his ticket as it was rolled over and won much later.

“The full details were explained to the complainant and the same was relayed to his attorney,” the public protector's report said.

It found the allegation that the DTIC failed to attend to a complaint the complainant lodged against the NLC was not substantiated. 

The report further found that Magagula’s complaint was investigated by the NLC in compliance with the Lotteries Act. After the investigation, a meeting was held between Magagula, the DTIC and the NLC at which the prize payout process was extensively explained to him. 

He was invited to provide the original coupon to assist Ithuba to obtain the numbers he played, which he failed to provide.

“Furthermore, the NLC, Ithuba and an independent auditor confirmed that the complainant did not win the R42m jackpot nor was it won by anyone during the relevant Powerball draw. 

“The conduct of the DTIC does not constitute improper conduct as envisaged in section 182(1) of the constitution and maladministration as envisaged in section 6(4)(a)(i) of the Public Protector Act.” 

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