EC Lotto winner claims R50m prize

A Dutywa resident who read in the Daily Dispatch that Lotto was looking for winning ticket holder has been confirmed as the winner of a gargantuan tax-free R50-million.

This is the biggest Lotto win ever in the Eastern Cape. The ticket holder was accompanied a family member when they went to claim the money last week and was then taken for trauma counselling, said Lotto officials.

Yesterday Lotto punters formed a long queue at the store where the ticket was purchased, according to the store's manager.

The winner had been sitting at home in his village outside the small town while trawling through the Dispatch’s Friday November 10 edition, looking at a report at the bottom of page five.

Written by this reporter, it stated that the owner of a Lotto ticket purchased at Spar store in Dutywa had not come forward to claim their money. The golden ticket had been drawn on November 4.

“I heard people talking about this in town but I did not pay any attention to it. Then I saw the article in the newspaper that the Lotto was looking for a R50-million winner,” said the winner, whose identity is being withheld, adding that they often purchased a ticket at that Spar.

"Then it struck me that it was still lying in a pocket of my jacket in the house. I finished my smoke and went inside to check my ticket and compared it with the winning numbers in the paper.

“Then I saw that they matched. Stunned and disbelieving, I cried out to my family.

“A family member came and saw the ticket as well and it was right. Then we called another close relative to come and see too.”

The winner plans to invest the winnings.

“I am a careful spender. I will try to keep my life simple and invest the money. My biggest dream has always been to have a happy family.”

National Lottery head of marketing Khensani Mabuza said of winners: “We also help them realise that they do not have to spend the money immediately. We encourage them to invest and live off the interest.”

Lottery psychologist Hlengiwe Zwane said the Dutywa winner was taken for an hour of debriefing focusing on trauma counselling.

Winners responded with shock, denial, nightmares, lack of sleep, lack of appetite, anxiety, tearfulness, and depression, she said.

The lottery pays out the amount in full and it will not be taxed.

Candice Mullins, chartered accountant and director of TheTaxHouse, said the government was poised to start taxing Lotto earnings by 15%.

The new National Gambling Bill and a National Gambling Tax Administration Bill will see a 6% tax on online gambling; 1% tax on casino revenue, and 15% withholding tax on gambling winnings over R25 000.

But for now, the R50-million windfall is tax-free.

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