National lottery operator Ithuba has welcomed a Pretoria Judge’s dismissal of rival Gidani’s latest bid to appeal against a ruling that upheld the awarding of the licence to Ithuba.
Judge Billy Motlhe yesterday dismissed Gidani’s application for leave to appeal against his ruling in May this year when he dismissed Gidani’s fresh bid to set aside Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies’ decision to re-award the country’s third lottery licence, worth R40 billion, to Ithuba Holdings.
The judge said he was not convinced an appeal would have a reasonable prospect of success or that there were any other compelling reasons why the appeal should be heard. Gidani’s latest application was a sequel to a number of unsuccessful attempts to claim an entitlement to operate the national lottery.
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The minister awarded the licence to Ithuba for a second time in August last year after the high court set aside and declared the licence agreement with Ithuba invalid, but upheld the minister’s decision to select Ithuba as the preferred bidder. Gidani wanted the court not only to set aside the awarding of the second licence, but also to order the minister to negotiate with it for the award of the licence, or to refer the matter back for reconsideration.
In May, Judge Mothle dismissed Gidani’s review bid, saying the company’s grounds of review did not make out a case of unlawful, irrational or unreasonable conduct on the part of the minister. Ithuba’s CEO Charmaine Mabuza said in a statement Ithuba operated a world-class operation and had brought back the fun and excitement for players of the national lottery. “Ithuba’s gaming portfolio has already contributed more than R1 billion to the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDTF).
“Ithuba promised to invigorate the lottery and increase player participation by offering higher rewards. To date there have been over 500 million tickets sold and more than R2.4 billion has been paid out to all winners,” she said.