19 July 2019
The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) is concerned by a statement circulated by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC). The statement makes unfounded allegations against veteran reporter Raymond Joseph, who has been reporting on NLC activities.
In particular the NLC accuses Joseph of being part of a scam and misrepresenting who he is. (Joseph has assured SANEF that he always identifies himself as a journalist.) A previous NLC statement also falsely accused Joseph of having improper financial interests that motivate his reporting. The NLC has asked its funding recipients who are contacted by Joseph to contact the anti-fraud line, and discourages them from disclosing information.
While the NLC is entitled to defend its record, it is not entitled to make false accusations against journalists investigating it. It is an abuse of the anti-fraud line to use it to deter journalists asking questions.
The NLC is obligated by Section 32 of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and the Promotion of Access to Information Act to provide information on how its funds are spent. The NLC appears to describe its funding beneficiaries as its “community” that must be “protected” and whose funding information is confidential.
This is an incorrect understanding of the NLC’s role with respect to the recipients of Lottery funding, who in fact must be held accountable by the NLC and the public for the way they spend their funds.
The NLC falls under the auspices of the Department of Trade and Industry and should act with the dignity expected of a state institution.
For more information please contact:
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director 082 926 6404
Nathan Geffen – SANEF member 084 726 5382