21 June 2011
It takes too long to process applications for funding from South Africa’s National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Monday.
“We are aware that the time taken from application to adjudication is [too long],” he told a NLDTF indaba in Johannesburg.
He said it was not fair that applicants had to sometimes wait up to a year to hear the outcome of their application for funding. This was one of three major problems the department had identified in lottery funding.
Complicated compliance requirements were also contributing towards backlogs. Davies said these requirements should be matched with the size of the grant and the risk involved. The process should be simplified for those applying for smaller grants.
He called for a more flexible approach, which would allow for rapid response to requests after emergencies and disasters.
The third issue that needed to be dealt with was conflict of interests between those granting the funding and those requesting money. Davies said the Department of Trade and Industry was working with the board to prevent irregularities in this regard.
Major improvements since 2009
The minister said when he took office in 2009 he received “a barrage of complaints” about unspent lottery funds.
In the beginning of 2009, 11% of funding was paid out within three months of adjudication. Now 90% of applications are paid out within three months of adjudication, he said.
“The board has made significant progress… and there had been major improvements in the time between adjudication and payment,” Davies said.
He dispelled rumours that there was R6-billion sitting unspent in the lottery account: “I can assure you there is no R6-billion sitting idle.”
There was R1.5-billion available in this financial year, he said, and R3.2-billion had already been approved and allocated.
The two-day indaba at Gallagher Estate in Midrand would review the current funding model and make proposals for a new model to best suit South Africa’s development needs.
Provincial meetings were held late last year to get input on what needed to be done to improve the lotto funding model.