The commissioner of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) has resigned “with immediate effect” weeks before her term expires at the end of September. This is evidenced by several sources.
Thabang Charlotte Mampane served for 10 years as a commissioner — effectively the chief executive officer — of the NLC. Her first five-year contract was extended in September 2017.
Over the past few years, the NLC has been riddled with corruption. GroundUp uncovered hundreds of millions of rand in misspent lottery funding on Mompane’s watch, and what we reported is likely the tip of the iceberg.
Her resignation comes just over two weeks after GroundUp discovered that lottery funds earmarked to build a school in Limpopo, which was destroyed by fire during a protest, were used to pay for her luxury home in a golf estate.
The home in the upmarket Pecanwood Estate, which adjoins Hartebysport Dam in the North West Province, is registered in the name of a trust of which Mampan and her husband Samuel are trustees. The couple and their two grown children are the beneficiaries of the trust.
Mampane’s home is one of several that GroundUp has revealed have been bought with Lottery grants designed to fund good causes, particularly in rural and marginalized communities.
Read: SIU freezes ex-lottery chairman’s mansion
Mampane, who earned 4.5 million rand last year, went on leave the same day the GroundUp story was published.
We understand that Mompane should have been disciplined for using lottery money to buy her house. It is not yet clear how her sudden resignation will affect this process.
Tendo Ragama, former NLC arts and culture distribution agency deputy and current legal head, has been acting commissioner since Mampane went on leave two weeks ago.
The purchase of the house is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which has been investigating corruption involving lottery funds since President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a declaration in October 2020 authorizing the investigation.
The SIU recently summoned Mampane to answer questions about the purchase of a house in 2016 for 3.6 million rand. A few weeks after that, GroundUp, which had been investigating the purchase of the home since receiving the notice last year, went public with its story.
Under Mampan, the NLC’s relationship with Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, who oversees the lottery, was adversarial and litigated (see here and here ). Communication between the Minister and the NLC was mainly limited to written letters, often in the form of letters from lawyers.
This is not the first time that Mompane has stepped down from a high-profile position. In 2010, she resigned as acting chief operating officer of the SABC after being caught on CCTV listening to a board meeting where her work was being discussed.
This follows the SABC board’s appalling performance before Scopa (Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts) the previous month. After the Scopa hearings, Mampane came under pressure to give up her position, but she kept her well-paid job as a group leader in the CEO’s office.
In 2012, she received a “golden handshake” of 4.3 million rand from the SABC to terminate her contract early. Shortly thereafter, she joined the NLC as a commissioner.
Mompane did not respond to a request for comment on her resignation sent to her via WhatsApp and Signal.
NLC spokesperson Ndivhukha Maphela said he was not aware of Mampane’s resignation and was trying to verify it. Reminded of the deadline in the original request, he said “protocols should be followed.”
The NLC issued a brief statement on Tuesday (August 16) confirming Mampane’s resignation.
“The Board acknowledges the resignation of Ms. TCC Mampane as Commissioner of the National Lotteries Commission effective August 15, 2022, and [is] is considering the application for dismissal,” the report says.
“The process of appointing a new commissioner is in full swing. The panel ensures the efficient and effective work of the commission while the proceedings are ongoing,” it added.
This article was first published on GroundUp here.
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