The first South Africa Pools tickets went on sale on Thursday, March 2, 2000, when the then President, Thabo Mbeki, bought the first ever Pool ticket in Langa, Cape Town. Since then, the Pools has become South Africa’s most popular lottery game, generating thousands of millionaires overnight.
The first Pools results were published following the inaugural draw on Saturday, March 11, 2000 and it didn’t take long for the jackpot winners to start rolling in. The very first Pools jackpot winner came forward just one day after that first draw. Along with six others, Sharon Valentine, a 47-year-old single mother and nursery school teacher, won a share of the R 3,000,000 jackpot.
However, it wasn’t long before Lotto made its first millionaire winner. Just five draws into Pool’s lifetime, Batsirai Mupfawi won the life-changing sum of R 13,831,850 on Saturday, April 8, 2000. Mupfawi, a chauffeur who was also studying to pass exams, had spent just R 5 on tickets and won his millions after the previous three draws had rolled over.
The biggest Pools jackpot winner in South African history was won in March 2006, and the jackpot amount was R 34,256,346. However, the lucky winner from West Rand, Johannesburg almost missed out on his winnings. Not realising that he’d won, the 50-year-old man went to work as normal the day after the draw, and it wasn’t for almost 24 hours after the draw that he realised he’d won. Mystery still surrounds the true identity of the winner, who has chosen to keep his identity a secret to this very day.