R27m from Lottery but six years later rehab still not operational

  • An incomplete, unopened rehab centre in Mpumalanga has actually gotten practically R27 million in financing from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) given that 2016.
  • This is part of R67.5 million in grants that the Southern African Youth Motion (SAYM), the NPO accountable for the job, has actually gotten from the NLC.
  • Private investigators discovered a host of abnormalities associated to the job and advised criminal charges be brought versus SAYM executive director Alfred Sigudhla.
  • For more financial news, go to the News24 Organization front page

A multimillion-rand grant to construct a rehab centre in Mpumalanga was authorized simply 18 days after the Southern African Youth Motion (SAYM) used for National Lotteries Commission (NLC) financing.

But practically six years later, and with practically R27 million in grants paid to SAYM for the job, the rehab near Mbombela (previously Nelspruit) was still not operational when GroundUp went to the website in October.

According to a 2021 examination by audit company Nexius SAB&T, dripped to GroundUp, the preliminary financing assigned and paid to SAYM in 2016 to construct the Mbombela rehab was for R17 million, although it had actually used for R27.4 million. This consisted of R2 million for operating costs.

Then, less than 5 months later– at some point in between February and March 2017– SAYM effectively used to the NLC for a more R5 million to construct an “indoor sports centre”, according to the Nexius report.

Yet, when GroundUp went to the job in October this year, practically six years later, building of the sports centre, which just started previously this year, was still continuing.

There are no patients or staff and the facility is yet to get a licence to run from the Department of Social Advancement (DSD).

A more R4.8 million was assigned to the job in the 2020/21 financial year (shown in the NLC yearly report) at a time when work on the job had actually stalled due to the fact that of an evident absence of funds.

SAYM sent out us pictures of the apparently finished interior of therehab But we were not able to individually verify this as we did not have gain access to to the home and might just see it from a neighbouring one.

In a composed response in action to questions from GroundUp, SAYM board chairperson Dr Lekgotla Mafisa stated they had actually cracked in extra cash to provide some centers at the rehab.

” Bear in mind that landscaping and stormwater are not initially part of the scope, along with the pool and the waste structure. These were thought about with finishings, and they were done at SAYM’s own cost based on licence requirements,” he composed.

Mafisa informed GroundUp: “Our last report and supporting files, together with an audited financial declaration, are being settled and will be sent to the NLC. Our audited financial declaration will be readily available for public intake in due course.

” We likewise understand that the NLC is carrying out due diligence to total the job, and they have actually currently visited our tasks.”

The financing for the rehab was part of a number of grants amounting to over R67.5 million administered to SAYM-related entities given that 2016. The grants are all tape-recorded in NLC yearly reports under a number of various variations of the organisation’s name.

At the centre of the grants is the participation of SAYM executive director Alfred Sigudhla, who has actually taken pleasure in a close relationship with the NLC and its predecessor, the National Lotteries Board. Both Sigudhla and Sello Pietersen, then-Assistant Program Supervisor of SAYM, provided proof to Parliament in assistance of modifications to the Lotteries Act that included propositions for the intro of proactive financing. In the years that followed, SAYM would receive 10s of millions of rands in proactive financing for a number of tasks.

The financed tasks consist of an aging house in Botshabelo, which SAYM states is total, but which is likewise still not operational six years after getting millions in grant financing. It likewise got R15 million for a musical that was implied to trip 3 provinces but appears to have just staged a handful of efficiencies in one province.

GroundUp has actually validated that all SAYM’s grants are under examination by the Unique Examining System (SIU).

Asked about this, Mafisa stated that it is the NLC and not the SAYM that is under examination, but that SAYM has actually co-operated with all “all state organs and offered information to allow them to take whatever choice is in the interest of law and order”.

SAYM informed GroundUp that it used to the Department of Social Advancement (DSD) for a licence to run therehab But SAYM just sent out us a letter from DSD outdated September 2017. This letter noted 15 requirements that have to be satisfied prior to their application would be “thought about for evaluation and registration”.

Grant quickly authorized

An examination by audit company Nexius SAB&T, which was commissioned by Ebrahim Patel, the Minister of Trade, Market and Competitors, exposed many issues associated to the rehab grant.

The report, which was sent in September 2021, was just recently dripped to GroundUp.

” The brief time duration in between the date of the application for funds (19 September 2016) and the award of funds (7 October 2016) recommends intervention from senior NLC authorities, as comparable applications usually take months, if not years to settle,” Nexius composed in its report.

Nexius detectives reported a number of problems they discovered after a website check out to the rehab in March 2021, by which time SAYM had actually gotten practically R22 million.

” Photos of the building were taken throughout a website check out and it was clear that the worth of building work at the Drug Rehab Centre fell far brief of the R22 million that was paid by the NLC [at that time],” according to the report.

They likewise reported that:

  • building work had actually started although the structure plans had not been authorized by the Mbombela City Board;
  • rezoning of the home had not been finished;
  • building was not in accordance with the plans that existed to the NLC and in numerous circumstances existing structures were simply revamped;
  • some of the structures on the plans sent to the NLC had not yet been built;
  • there was doubt whether the SAYM had actually the needed approval to construct;
  • and there were “energetic objections from neighbours” along with “structural problems that might render the ongoing structure operation prohibited”, one of which is the absence of water on the home, which is a little farm.

There was no sign “whatsoever of any sports complex or sporting centers, although the SAYM appears to have actually currently gotten R5 million for sporting centers.”

Criminal charges advised

In its report, Nexius grumbled that regardless of a number of efforts, both Sigudhla and SAYM had actually declined to work together with its examination. Reacting to GroundUp, Mafisa rejected that SAYM had actually stopped working to work together with the examination.

Nexius specified in its report: “It is advised that the matter be referred to the South African Authorities Service and that criminal charges be brought versus Mr. Sigudhla … as prima facie proof exists that funds allocated for a drug rehab centre might not have actually been used for that function.”

Nexius likewise advised additional examinations be done into how the cash was invested, consisting of to whom SAYM paid funds from the grant.

The report is likewise extremely vital of the NLC’s failure to keep track of the job’s financial resources.

Nexius likewise stated it was not successful in attempting to acquire files about the job from the NLC.


The incomplete “indoor sports centre” in October 2022.

Neighbours up in arms

The rehab is set in the stunning Renosterkop Valley, a couple of kilometres outside Mbombela. The location is zoned for residential and farming usages, and SAYM was needed to rezone the home prior to structure and running a rehab on it.

SAYM started building “on an unidentified date, but prior to the pertinent structure plans were authorized by the Mbombela City Board”, Nexius stated in its report.

The “indoor sports centre” shows up from a range. The big, imposing structure is at chances with the serene valley, which brims with native wildlife and plants. A beautiful river, with mineral-rich water that is safe to beverage, goes through the valley.

Polla Nel, who farms macadamia nuts on 2 homes abutting the centre, states that in between 40 and 50 farms depend on the river and might be impacted if sewage from the centre spills into it.

” The water from the river streams into the Sterkspruit and then the Crocodile River. Everybody who depends on water from those rivers will be impacted if there are not appropriate sewage systems at the rehab,” he states.

Nel states that the SAYM has actually ridden roughshod over the rights of regional landowners, while pleas to the NLC to step in have actually fallen on deaf ears.

But SAYM informed GroundUp: “We engaged in a wide variety of assessment processes worrying the building of the rehab centre, which led to the Mbombela Town council taking a resolution to support the job.

” Our company believe that Mbombela Town represents its citizens. Moreover, there are Memorandums of Comprehending in between SAYM and the town on all the tasks executed in the city. The town had no objection to the building and the plans sent for approval.”

Amongst the objections is the placement of a drug rehab in the middle of a rural residential location, which citizens state postures a security threat to them.

Citizens are likewise objecting to the reality that building started without structure plans or rezoning initially being authorized by the Mbombela Town.

Legal representatives moneyed by the landowners have actually been combating the advancement, but regardless of installing costs have actually been not able to stop it.

A conference at a regional dining establishment, gone to by community authorities, landowners and SAYM agents, was acrimonious and did little to deal with the issues, states Nel.

Nel took GroundUp on a trip of his home. We were able to view parts of the rehab from his home and from a road running past it.

The rehab presently does not have appropriate power or water products, and water to fill tank on the home is trucked in by the town.

An unusual proposition

SAYM likewise sent a proposition to the Mbombela Town that consisted of a three-year, R27 million spending plan for a rehab facility in Kuruman, in the Northern Cape, a nine-hour drive away.

At one point the proposition states: “For that reason, the SAYM plan looks for to contribute and address issues of drug and substance abuse in line with National Policy Structure in the Community of Kuruman.”

The NLC has actually likewise moneyed an incomplete rehab in Kuruman, but there is no proof recommending that SAYM was included in this job.

GroundUp two times asked SAYM detailed questions about whether or not it was included in the Kuruman rehab job, but we did not get a reaction.

Stop-start building

Early last month structure came to an abrupt stop. Then work rebooted in the previous couple of weeks, according to people in the location. Jacques Fourie, who lives on a home abutting the rehab, stated that the home builders had actually typically worked in fits and begins.

Reacting to GroundUp, the NLC specified: “We verify that the South African Youth Motion has actually gotten financing from the NLC.

” We are regrettably not able to refer to any documents or validate information relating to the query, as all Proactive Financing files have actually been taken by the Unique Examination System as part of their continuous examination.”

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