Since the first grants to “good causes” were made by the South African Lottery in 2002, thousands of organisations have received funding of over R22-billion.
Lists of successful funding applications are published each year in the annual reports of the National Lottery Commission (NLC). There are four categories under which grants are awarded: Charities, Arts, Culture and National Heritage, Sport and Recreation and Miscellaneous.
But checking through the printed lists of grants is time consuming and not easy to do, so few people, including journalists, ever do so.
So we’ve made it simple to check who received funding, when and how much using a simple tool built by OpenUp, a Cape Town-based civic tech organisation dedicated to transparency. All the data in the tool was scraped from the official NLC annual reports.
Be aware that, while in some cases we have cleaned up the data, grantees are sometimes listed in the tool as they appear in the NLC’s annual reports. This means that grants to a single organisation may be listed under several different names. We recommend that you start with the name of an organisation and then try keywords in its name, as well as possible variants of the name: e.g. South African and SA Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals alternatives when searching for a beneficiary to ensure that you include all grants.
If an organisation has an acronym, in this case SPCA, search for that too. Or if looking for a school or schools and are not sure of their exact names, begin your search with “school” and then search through the results for the one/s you’re looking for.
We’ve dug through the data to find stories about the lottery and some recipients. We invite you to do the same – and if you find anything you think we should follow-up on please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the South African Lottery was launched in South Africa in March 2000 it outlawed most other lottery-type games and scratch cards, badly affecting some non-profit organisations that were using these games for fund raising.
A percentage of the weekly proceeds are paid over by the licensed lottery operator – appointed every seven years and currently Ithuba - to the National Lottery Commission, which is regulated by the Department of Trade and Industry.
The money is allocated in terms of four categories: Charities, Sports and Recreation, Arts, Culture and National Heritage and Miscellaneous. Over the years almost R22- billion has been granted to “good causes”.
Adjudications on funding applications are done by committees – known as distributing agencies – which are appointed by the Minister of Trade and Industry.
In South Africa the Gaming the Lottery team was headed up by Raymond Joseph. Others involved were data journalists Daniela Lepiz and Roxanne Joseph, data analyst Adi Eyal and data wrangler/analyst Damian Schlechter and, OCCRP Africa editor Khadija Sharife. Trace, a project of civic tech organisation OpenUp scraped the lottery data for a search tool and also assisted with research, analysis and infographics. The Fund for Investigative Journalism and Trust Africa supported the project. A special thanks to Seamus Reynolds for additional research and support.