Durban – The destiny of a South African or perhaps a few people could change tonight when the Lotto draw for the biggest jackpot since 2015 takes place.
January is traditionally a bleak financial period for many people after December’s Christmas spending spree and the purchase of school clothes and fees for the new academic year.
However, when the Lotto balls roll tonight your bank account could get a massive boost with the prize standing at R100 million following several rollovers.
Khensani Mabuza, the head of marketing at Ithuba, which manages the national lottery, said major winners received something close to trauma counselling.
“It’s such a huge shock if you have been living hand-to-mouth and suddenly you have millions.” She said their psychologist counselled the new millionaires, who experienced an array of emotions, and also taught them how to deal with constant requests for loans once friends and family members discovered that they had become rich overnight.
“Winners respond with shock, denial, nightmares, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, anxiety, tearfulness and depression,” Mabuza said.
She said in 2016 they paid out their highest powerball jackpot of R87m to a school teacher in Limpopo. “Ithuba is now looking at making the same happen for our Lotto players,” she said.
In November 2017, a Lotto jackpot of close to R51m was paid to a winner from the Eastern Cape. Lucky players from KwaZulu-Natal received the following winnings:
April 22, 2017 – R 34 494 651;
July 30, 2016 – R 35 244 363.
Mabuza said in addition to psychological counselling, winners also received financial therapy and estate planning advice.
She said Lotto winners were not taxed and received the full amount they had won from Ithuba.
However, all this was likely to change as government was in the process of tabling a new National Gambling Bill and a National Gambling Tax Administration Bill.
“The previous proposals were 6% tax on online gambling; 1% tax on casino revenue and a 15% withholding tax on gambling winnings over R25 000,” said Candice Mullins, the managing director of The Tax House.
She did not know whether the bill would take the previous proposal into account or not. “However, for the moment, unless you are a professional gambler, the above windfalls will be free of South African income tax.”
Neil Roets, the chief executive officer of debt review company Debt Rescue, said winners should pay off their debt and invest the rest of the money. He said everyone needed to have a monthly budget, whether they were super wealthy or extremely poor, so that they could understand their financial situation.
“Most people who are over-indebted would, in most, cases not be able to use the services of a financial adviser, usually because of costs. This would be where they would refer to us as debt counsellors, to assist them in restructuring their debt.”
He urged South Africans not to live to their “maximum means”, but to leave themselves room to manoeuvre as a safeguard against any future predicaments.
“Have three to six months’ living expenses in reserve so if you are retrenched you are safe,” recommended Roets. He also advised consumers not to wait until they were on the verge of losing everything before undergoing debt review but to do so as soon as they saw they were heading into financial difficulties