A Look At the History of the National Lottery in South Africa

The National Lottery in South Africa has become a firm favourite for many South Africans. No matter whether you find yourself in the supermarket or any other store that allows one to play for the draw, it’s usually a hustle of activity with hopeful players eager to get their entry in or to find out if they are the next lucky winner. While most of us are more than familiar with how to play the game, not many of us are aware of how it all started. When and how did the national Lottery in South Africa begin?

The passing of the Lotteries Act took place in 1997 and a year later the very first members of National Lottery Board came together with the first appointed chairmen being Joe Foster. During this time the board made it their business to assist the Minister of Trade and Industry in making a decision on who to award a license to, which resulted in Uthingo Management being the first National Lottery operator. Thereafter Professor Veyek, part of the original board became the chief executive offer of the National Lottery Board in 1999.

In 2000 former President Thabo Mbeki officially announced the launch of the National Lottery, which took place at a ticket terminal in Langa, Cape Town on the 2 March. The very first Lotto draw, which caused a huge ripple of excitement across the country, took place on the 11th March and so the National Lottery in South Africa had begun. That same month, the Lottery took another positive step forward by handing out emergency disbursements up to R1.4 million to beneficiaries that were previously supported financially through scratch card competitions and were hard done by during the time that it took for the new Lottery-based funding system to be put into place.

Over the next few years, more funding was distributed to organizations and NGO’s who were in much need financially once the three distributing agencies had been established, i.e. Arts, Culture, National Heritage; Sport and Recreation and Charities. Since then the National Lottery of South Africa, while it has faced some set backs over the years continues to play an important role in supporting and raising funds for much needed sectors within the South African economy.

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