Durban — Newly appointed chairperson of the National Lotteries Commission Professor Barney Pityana has dismissed those who criticised and opposed his appointment, arguing that there was no evidence that younger people executed their tasks more effectively compared to the elderly people.
The 76-year-old was speaking to the Daily News on Thursday during an interview focusing on his appointment by the Cabinet to chair the NLC.
“In terms of gatekeeping, quite frankly, there is nothing I can do if that’s how people think, but I have a long reputation of leadership and I have never worked directly in government. I do not understand gatekeeping and what it is. I know people appointed at the commission as commissioners, and our brief was the same so that we execute the tasks efficiently and enable resources to go where they are intended, and not end up in some people’s pockets within the commission.”
Pityana stated that those who were questioning his age did not know who he was. He urged people to look at every case according to its merits and not judge people based on age.
“I feel honoured to be asked to do a series of this nature, I am honoured because I have a passion for this as I am tasked to ensure that we promote sports, youth, and culture and ensure that the commission reaches where government resources are not able to reach, and of course provide support to people who may even become millionaires,” said Pityana.
He added that he was aware of the challenges within the commission and his appointment would strengthen governance, clean up the commission and rebuild trust between it and the people.
“I will ensure that the commission does its work. People must trust us that their money is in good hands and we do what the commission was established to do.
“We must ensure that the commission is able to function as we handle the large sums of money, however small or large, it effectively means we need to deliver on the mandate of the NLC and stop the looting of money out of the commission.”
He said he would conduct lifestyle audits to ensure that people were not using the NLC to enrich themselves, and stated that those within the commission must provide the satisfaction that they can function well in their roles within the institution so that resources do not get diverted into places not intended for.
The EFF had on Tuesday said that Pityana was being used as a gatekeeper by politicians and asked that he withdraw from the appointment to allow someone younger to chair the commission. This was supported by the Land Party, which also rejected his appointment.
Political analysts Dr Metji Makgoba and Botsang Moiloa said that the “old guards” were being recycled in key state positions at the expense of the youth.