Cape Times

Gidani set for SCA in Lotto dispute

- Lisa Isaacs

OUTGOING National Lottery licence holder Gidani has vowed to continue in its fight to operate the jackpot by petitionin­g the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA).

This comes after Judge Neil Tuchten of the Gauteng division of the High Court in Pretoria recently refused the losing bidder permission to apply for leave to appeal a previous ruling as its filing would have been late.

Gidani had asked the court to set aside Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies’s 2013 decision to appoint Ithuba Holdings as the new operator.

Gidani had held the licence since 2007 and its agreement ended in November last year. Ithuba took over on June 1.

The eight-year tender

is worth R40 billion.

Tuchten set aside Davies’ initial decision in November last year to select Ithuba as the preferred applicant for the third licence for the SA National Lottery. Tuchten also ruled that the minister’s decision was inconsiste­nt and invalid.

In July, Tuchten ruled that Ithuba’s licence be suspended for a month, and that Davies reconsider the tender. The terms of the licence agreement were then concluded and signed with Ithuba on August 7.

Gidani filed another applicatio­n for leave to appeal, seven days late, and asked Tuchten for condonatio­n of the late filing. But Tuchten dismissed this.

“Gidani remains steadfast in its conviction as to the correctnes­s and imperative of its legal course and soundness of the basis on which the review applicatio­n is being pursued,” said chief executive Bongani Khumalo.

Ithuba has meanwhile welcomed Tuchten’s decision. Its chief executive, Charmaine Mabuza, said: “While it is not unusual for a losing bidder to appeal to the courts, we will continue to vigorously oppose any future challenge, as required.”

Since starting its operations, Ithuba has rolled out nearly 9 000 terminals in all nine provinces, increasing the lottery’s retail footprint by 35 percent.

Trade and Industry Department spokespers­on Sidwell Medupe said it was within the rights of Gidani to take the case to the SCA, and the department would abide by any ruling made. lisa.isaacs@inl.co.za

@lisa_isaacs

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa