Since the start of the National Lottery in South Africa, many worthwhile charities have been funded as well as giving the public a chance to win big. Charitable organizations receive thirty-four percent of the total money with the rest paying retailers for distribution and of course the prizes, which account for forty-eight percent of the total revenue. The operators keep ten percent as operating costs in that equation.
We’ve had a look back at the six biggest winners, and judging by the prizes they have won, it is easy to understand why more than four out of five people play the lottery.
Biggest Ever Jackpot
Powerball has fast become the number one lottery game in South Africa and as you would expect, has produced some of the biggest winners. The largest win by far was on February 19th, 2019 and came through on a ticket purchased in Cape Town. The ticket netted the winner an astonishing R232 million. The lucky Powerball winner decided to stay anonymous and has pledged that the winnings will help secure the education of his children. The man, in his fifties, who bought the lucky ticket at an OK Mini Mart has vowed to keep working despite the massive windfall.
Second Highest Pay-out
The second-highest win also came from a Powerball game, netting one lucky man a whopping R145 million. After checking the Powerball results, and realizing that his numbers had come up, the winner chose to stay anonymous. However, it is reported that he said he has been playing various lotteries in South Africa for many years and never thought he would ever become a winner. The golden ticket was purchased in Evander, not far from his home in Secunda which lies in the province of Mpumalanga. An engineer by trade, the gentleman had told how he kept the ticket in his sock for four days before coming forward to claim his prize.
Third Biggest Pay-out
Showing the popularity of the game, we round out the top three winners with another Powerball jackpot. Coming in a very close third this lucky winner claimed over R141 million with a ticket purchased for R105 thanks to a Quick Pick selection. The town where the ticket was bought only has ten thousand residents, but a passing motorist could have purchased it. The national lottery operator, Ithuba, confirmed the winning ticket was purchased at a Spar in Groot Brakrivier, in the Western Cape.
Fourth Largest Win
Another lucky man had the biggest win for over seven years all the way back in 2011. Pocketing a cool R102 million with a ticket bought for R10.50. Another win thanks to a Quick Pick ticket after twenty-four successive rollovers to accumulate the enormous prize. The man with the winning ticket almost didn’t collect the prize as the ticket had to be scanned three times (twice coming up negative) before the cashier in the store finally told him he had a winner on his hands. The businessman, in his twenties at the time, reported how he would add the winnings to his savings, pay off all his debts and start to lead a more comfortable and fulfilling life.
Fifth Highest Jackpot
There was much confusion surrounding this R91 million win as many believed the winner to be a deaf and mute gentleman from Parktown, Cape Town. It was later discovered he had bought a ticket with the winning numbers, but unfortunately, he had purchased the ticket a day after the draw closed. The man, who chose to keep his name anonymous, in his fifties at the time has told how he and his family had to hide for days due to the attention they received. The eventual winner was found to be a mother of two in her forties who, much like our other winners, chose to stay anonymous.
Sixth Biggest Win
This lucky winner purchased their ticket only fifteen minutes before the draw was made for an amount of over R87 million. Back in 2016, the winner was a government state employee and had been playing the lottery for sixteen years, praying before every draw. He bought the lucky ticket from a filling station in Mokopane, Limpopo where he obtained a Quick Pick that produced the lucky ticket. The filling station owner says he was inundated with many people believing they had the winning ticket until the prize was eventually claimed from the Ithuba offices in Polokwane, Limpopo a few days after the draw. The winner, who chose to stay out of the limelight, said how he will use the money to help those in need and invest the rest in ventures to financially secure their future, adding that they will treat themselves to a mansion in Gauteng or Mpumalanga.
Those are South Africa’s biggest lottery wins in recent history. As most of us know, winning the lottery produces odds that the majority might consider impossible, and yet, if the above is anything to go by, picking the right numbers can indeed happen to anyone. Even when the picks are randomly generated by the computer. Like any game of chance, you have to “be in it to win it” and the lottery certainly qualifies. So if you too want to end up being written about in an article one day, you need to start making plays and picking your favorite numbers, and your big day might just be around the corner!