Friday, December 10, 2010

What a Lotto Shit!

One of the big news stories today was the revelation of the National Lotteries board decision to donate R40 million to the National Youth Development Agency's world youth festival. This was in addition to the R29 million given to the agency by Government to stage the nine day event and host 30 000 youths from around the world. If those figures astound you, they should, but the NYDSA have stated that this is still far short of the R 370 million they required to host the event. WTF is unfortunately the only response that I can muster at this moment.

I serve on the board of a rather large charity organisation and I assure you that the Lotto allocation we received this year was a fraction of R40 Million. Furthermore, we received our funding last month for an application that was made in 2008 and it came with specific stipulations on how it should be spent. I wonder if the NYDSA were given similar guidelines, i.e. “Comrades. You can spend this money on champagne, but not on caviar.”

Why is South Africa stomping at the bit to host every conference imaginable. Yes, I understand that there is the tourism benefit etc etc but somebody needs to do the math and determine whether this is a sound economic strategy. As for the Lotto Board. I think you need to revisit your mandate. Yes, I understand that your first aim is to tempt our poor citizens of their weekly wages with the dream of striking it big and 'Tata my millions', but surely your next priority, after taking your bonuses, has to be the redistribution of that money to the development of our country. How hosting 30 000 students from around the world can be a higher priority now than the rising poverty, unemployment and crime in our country is incomprehensible.

On a brighter note, in a story that shockingly only managed to make pg 21 of the daily newspaper I was reading, seventeen additional US billionaires including Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg have joined other wealthy American billionaires in pledging to give away at least half of their fortunes in a campaign spearheaded by two of the world's richest men, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates and financial guru Warren Buffet. 'The Giving Pledge', which was launched in June now have a total of 57 billionaires who have publicly stated their intention with a letter explaining this decision. The full list of billionaires and their letters are available on

I must firstly sympathise with the heirs to these fortunes who may just be realising that their inheritance has been halved and then express my gratitude to the capitalist American billionaires who are prepared to put the wellbeing of the less fortunate back on the agenda. It was Winston Churchill who said,

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”

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