Gunmen hijack delivery of sensitive Lotteries Commission documents outside DA offices
Photo: Raymond Joseph, GroundUp

The DA has reported a suspicious hijacking, of sensitive National Lotteries Commission (NLC) information, outside their Cape Town office.

The incident took place on Monday at 13:00.

“A courier service arrived at the DA Federal Head Office in Cape Town to deliver a USB drive with sensitive information that we had requested from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) relating to an ongoing corruption investigation that the DA has been pursuing,” says Mat Cuthbert, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition.

“At that very same time and similar to a James Bond movie scene, four gunmen intercepted the delivery and made off with the USB drive.”

The DA had previously submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application regarding a service provider that was contracted by the NLC to in essence advise the NLC on how to distribute Covid-19 relief worth R150 million. The NLC paid the service provider almost a third of the value of the relief – R460 287.50.

The NLC allegedly tried to block attempts by the DA to gain access to this information, but finally its PAIA application was granted and the NLC promised that on Monday all requested information would be delivered to the DA federal head office in Cape Town on a USB stick due to “the voluminous nature of the information requested”.

The DA said it finds it extremely suspicious that gunmen would intercept the information that the NLC was so loath to hand over. “It certainly appears to be an orchestrated attempt, by who we can only speculate at this point, to circumvent the due process of the PAIA application and keep the information contained regarding the beneficiaries of this NLC tender from public view,” the DA said in a statement.

It also raises serious security concerns regarding the safety of whistleblowers, including that of Mat Cuthbert himself.

“The DA urges SAPS to ensure that all involved in this heist be arrested as a matter of urgency, and we urge the NLC to honour the PAIA application and send the information again,” said the DA.