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6 Shocking stories about South African lotto winners who are now broke

You would think that if someone wins the lotto they will be set for the rest of their lives. I guess it all depends on the amount that they’ve won. Some lotto winners plan to use their winnings for the rest of their lives, but not everyone sticks to their plans.

For most people it would be a dream come true. To give you and your family a better life, or to start your own business. Who wouldn’t grab such an opportunity with both hands?

Some winners, when they have an overnight 7-digit bank balance, decide to live in the moment and all the budget plans fly out the back door. And for every lotto jackpot winner-story that started with big dreams, you are likely to hear that it didn’t work out as planned and that the winner ended up broke.

We’ve done some research to see if we can find South African lotto winners who are now broke.

Unlike overseas media it is not as easy to find South African lotto winners, it is unlikely for winners to give permission to go public with their winnings.

Here is a list of some South African lotto winners who unfortunately had to go back to their previous lifestyle and who are even worse off than where they were before they’ve hit the jackpot.

South African lotto winners who are now broke

1. KwaZulu Natal winner won R1,9 million, 2000

This lucky winner has nothing to show for his big win except a broken heart and a lot of regrets. After winning, he refused expertise financial advice offered to him. Between 2000 and 2004 he went through 7 cars and his attempt to start a business almost ended up in tragedy when he was shot twice during a hijacking.

He spent his winnings on luxury vehicles, drugs, alcohol, sex and some fine dining at Durban’s finest restaurants and hotels. The only things that he has to show from his winning money is a DVD, a dining room suite and a TV set for his mother. He also made some improvements at his parents’ home. He said that if he could win the lotto again, he would stay away from bad company and invest most of his money.

2. KwaZulu Natal winner won R1,4 million, 2002

Similar to the previous winner, unfortunately for this guy, he also had bad friends and greedy relatives. He also spent his winnings on luxury cars, he used to be the owner of 4 vehicles and does not even own a car now. He even had to sell his 3-bedroomed house that he bought with his winnings. According to him there are still friends and family members who owe him a lot of money.

3. Western Cape winner won R6,7 million, 2003

After winning the jackpot at the age of 18 this lucky gentleman unfortunately turned to a life of drugs and crime after losing all his winnings. Ten years later he was sentenced to 28 years in prison for murder.

4. Limpopo winner won R6,1 million, 2006

After 10 years he has nothing to show but a partially renovated house and two broken second-hand tractors. When he won, he invested R4m and used the rest to renovate his house, bought 3 vehicles and 2 tractors. Unfortunately, he no longer owns any of the cars.

According to the winning couple their win was a curse. It destroyed their family and none of the children get along anymore.

One of their sons was shot dead. According to newspaper reports, one of the other sons, an ex-cop was convicted of defrauding his parents of millions. The money vanished from the winner’s bank account, and the surviving brother claims that his murdered brother was behind the theft.

5. North West winner won R1,8 million, 2008

He spent all his money in just 4 years. He built his mother a house of approx. R800 000. He bought himself a new cell phone, new clothes and 4 vehicles, 2 of which he lost in accidents and the other 2 he couldn’t afford the maintenance on and had to sell them. He invested some of the money but withdrew it after a year.

The father of 4 is now unemployed and lives with his mother and relies on money from friends and family every month. He admitted that he should’ve listened to the financial advisor and invested his money.

6. KwaZulu Natal winner won R10,4 million, 2009

A former police officer quickly left the police force to start his new life and spent his winnings on fast cars, entertaining friends and buying properties and businesses. After divorcing his wife there was R2,5 million left in their joint account after she received half of it. He invested his portion in a chicken franchise and after not abiding to the franchise rules he lost everything.

In 2014 he was also facing charges of theft and impersonating a police officer. He has nothing to show for his big win and was sharing a tiny flat with 2 siblings in 2014.


They say that you should learn from someone else’s mistakes. These are expensive mistakes to learn from. From these South African Lotto winners’ stories, one thing is for sure, if and when you win the lotto, avoid going broke by doing the following:

  1. Plan ahead, take things slow.
  2. Get expert advice and professional guidance.
  3. Be careful where and with whom you invest your money.
  4. Have your budget in place and stick to it.
  5. Plan for the unforeseen future for you and your family.