In a context of massive reductions in government consumption spending, the National Lottery is intended to provide a sustainable source of funding for non-profit organisations providing much needed sporting, arts, cultural, social and environmental services to the South African public. This funding, it is hoped, will help secure a better life for all citizens.
One of the criticisms frequently made of the post-1994 South African government is, however, that their commitment to the formulation of ambitious, often wide-sweeping, development plans are seldom matched with an accompanying attention to the critical institutional and social framework needed successfully to implement this policy.
As we see in this report, the manner in which the National Lottery has been run since its inception in 2000 lends much weight to this criticism. Most damming of all, perhaps, is the fact that, whilst the National Lottery was set up with relative ease, it took government a full year, and then only after widespread public criticism, to begin to set up three of the four key Distribution Agencies charged with disbursing the proceeds of ticket sales to good causes. Furthermore, barely half of the money available for distribution has actually been distributed. This represents a complete disregard for the necessary institutional and social factors needed to make legislation work, and is, sadly, indicative of the increasing inability of the South African government to match its social commitments with actual delivery.