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Johannesburg - When Donald Mothibe opened the Sowetan newspaper on Monday to check the lottery results, he could not believe what he was seeing.
He had hit the jackpot.
The numbers 1, 3, 14, 26, 31 and 46 matched those on the ticket in his hand.
A colleague double-checked the ticket against the Sowetan’s results, then shook his hand and congratulated him.
A second colleague tripled-checked and concurred.
Within minutes, news of Mothibe’s good fortune spread around the building, and people congratulated him
Later, when Mothibe went to another colleague to ask him to check the jackpot money on the national lottery’s website, his world came crashing down.
The Sowetan had printed the wrong numbers, and he hadn’t won the jackpot.
Mothibe grabbed a chair before his legs gave way under him and he sat down to digest the news.
“I was shattered. Darkness descended upon me,” he said.
“Earlier, I had felt like a millionaire, and it was such a good feeling. I knew my life was going to change and was happy that the winnings had come at the right time.
“But after being told that I had actually not won, I was so down,” the 40-year-old said.
had planned to buy a four-room house in Soweto, then renovate it into a Tuscany-style home, build backrooms, get married, buy a Golf 6, a minibus and a van, then invest the rest.
“When it turned out that it was all a big mistake, I remember getting out of the building and looking at minibus taxis, wondering whether I should hail one and go home,” he said.
“I then walked to the pub, where I stayed until 10.30pm. I could not cry, so I buried my sorrows in alcohol. I was very drunk when I left, and slept all the way in the taxi.
“I blame the Sowetan for misleading me,” the heartbroken man said.
Thembi Tulwana of lottery operator Gidani said they would unfortunately not pay Mothibe as the mistake was made by the Sowetan.
The newspaper printed an apology on Tuesday.
While Mothibe was disappointed at how things turned out, Professor Steve Tuson of the Wits Law School said he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if he was toying with the idea of suing either Gidani or the Sowetan.