The Democratic Alliance (DA) has reliably learnt that the Chief Operating Officer of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), Philemon Letwaba has taken voluntary leave with immediate effect until 1 March 2020.
This comes after the NLC has finally relented from pressure from the DA and the public that an independent forensic audit must be conducted into the crisis hit commission over dodgy payments to friends and family, including the wife of the COO.
To date, Trade & Industry Minister, Ebrahim Patel has remained steadfast in his silence while allegation after allegation of corruption has been unearthed by GroundUp and journalist Raymond Joseph. This includes the threats of lawsuits and criminal charges against journalists by the NLC for uncovering their underhandedness.
The voluntary leave of the COO is a step in the right direction but it is merely a cosmetic one unless the Minister is prepared to get his hands dirty and tackle the rouge Board at the NLC.
That is why on the 23rd of January 2020, I wrote to the Minister to ask him to fire the Board and place the NLC under administration due to their failure to act against the COO and get to the bottom of the rot. Unfortunately, the Minister has continued to ignore my request, let alone respond to my letter. The big question is, what is the Minister so afraid of when it comes to fighting alleged corruption in the NLC?
The DA again reiterates it’s call for Minister Patel to stop hiding in the shadows and show some leadership by firing the Board and placing the NLC under administration.