Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has called out the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) for the illegal sale of lottery tickets during the nationwide lockdown.

There has been confusion over the state of the lottery during the lockdown. In a statement on April 3, NLC spokesman Ndivuho Mafela claimed that the commission had been granted an exemption to allow sales to continue.

“As the regulator of the National Lottery, the NLC has taken note of the Presidential lockdown directive and as such, has activated an exemption clause on lottery play in South Africa, enabling the National Lottery operator, ITHUBA to deliver the National Lottery to South Africans, while observing the regulations of the lockdown, and urging members of the public to do the same,” said Mafela.

The Ithuba Holdings PowerBall and PowerBall Plus jackpot draw continued this past weekend. This past Friday’s R228-million jackpot was the largest since 2015, and the fourth biggest prize overall in the almost 20 years since the lottery was launched in the country.

According to Patel, however, purchasing lottery tickets was never deemed an essential service during the nationwide lockdown. During a media briefing on Saturday, April 25, the minister explained that these tickets are being sold illegally. The Commission has been instructed to stop sales of lottery tickets as the lockdown continues.

The NLC had now announced that they will no longer sell lottery tickets.

South Africans are advised that:

1. The National Lottery is not an essential service.

2. The sale of National Lottery tickets at retail terminals is prohibited during the national lockdown.

“Measures adopted by the National Lottery Operator, ITHUBA, during the lockdown period will be strictly monitored by the NLC,” they said in a statement.

While in-person sales at retail outlets will no longer continue, however, the NLC might still encourage online ticket sales, which can be done through the official lottery app and various banking platforms.

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