Boxing SA board an­gling for ex­tended run as ring­mas­ters

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­

As the Boxing SA (BSA) board’s three-year term of of­fice comes to an end next month, chair­per­son Mu­di­ta­mbi Ravele be­lieves they’ve done so well that they de­serve to be given an ex­tended ten­ure by the new min­is­ter of sport, Them­be­lani Nx­esi.

Ravele’s seven-mem­ber board – which in­cludes Dr Male­fet­sane Peter Ngatane, Ad­vo­cate Mzamo Al­fred Gumbi, Zandile Matilda Kabini, Khulile Radu, Man­disinde Zoy­isile Gcil­it­sana and Luthando Jack – are ex­pected to give way to a new com­mit­tee.

But the chair­per­son is op­ti­mistic that, de­spite the chal­lenges that she and her team have faced since tak­ing over the reins in 2014, they have re­stored the dig­nity of pro­fes­sional boxing in the coun­try through their ef­fi­cient ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Since Ravele of­fi­cially took charge in 2014 af­ter serv­ing on a temporary ba­sis a year ear­lier, BSA has experienced several ad­min­is­tra­tive chal­lenges. Th­ese in­cluded the or­gan­i­sa­tion go­ing through several court cases, which in­volved for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Mof­fat Qithi be­ing sus­pended in 2013 and sub­se­quently sacked in 2015 for, among other things, not declar­ing that he had a crim­i­nal record be­fore he as­sumed his po­si­tion at BSA. This was af­ter ad­vo­cate Sicelo Mthethwa rec­om­mended that Qithi be fired by the boxing body.

Other court cases that pinned the ad­min­is­tra­tion against the ropes was the dead­lock with pro­moter Branco Milenkovic re­gard­ing the SABC’s fail­ure to broad­cast fights, and pro­mot­ers Dicksy Ngqula, Siphatho Handi and Andile Si­dinile’s fail­ure to pay box­ers.

Ngqula failed to pay R1.6 mil­lion owed to four box­ers – Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndon­geni (R1 mil­lion) and Mab­huti “Mac­man” Sinyabi, Toto Helebe and Maka­zole Tete (R200 000 each) – for tak­ing part in the Premier Boxing League in East Lon­don in 2015.

Handi did not set­tle the ac­counts of East­ern Cape fight­ers, their Filipino op­po­nents and of­fi­cials for fights he staged in East Lon­don in March 2015. He owed the pugilists R800 000. Handi was found guilty and had his pro­moter’s li­cence sus­pended for a year.

Si­dinile was in­structed by BSA’s lawyers to re­cover R552 000 he owed four fight­ers in purse money for a tour­na­ment that took place at the Ori­ent The­atre last April. The pugilists are Simpiwe “V12” Ve­tyeka, Xolisani “Nomeva” Ndon­geni and Luzuko Siyo.

Ravele said that, although the cur­rent board faced chal­lenges, they had made sig­nif­i­cant progress un­der her lead­er­ship.

“We may have experienced ad­min­is­tra­tive prob­lems be­fore, but I can proudly say that, un­der my lead­er­ship, for the first time in the his­tory of pro­fes­sional boxing in the coun­try, BSA has man­aged to es­tab­lish the Na­tional Boxing Ind­aba, where we and the de­part­ment of sport meet all stake­hold­ers in all prov­inces and deal with is­sues per­tain­ing to boxing,” said Ravele.

She said that when the board took con­trol, BSA was run­ning with­out an ef­fec­tive layer of se­nior man­age­ment.

“When the new board was ap­pointed, we didn’t have a chief ex­ec­u­tive or a head of finance. Close to 50 staff po­si­tions were ter­mi­nated. We are now a well-oiled ma­chine that is run­ning boxing very well. The cur­rent board should be re­tained in the next term,” said Ravele.

She said the progress made by BSA was re­mark­able be­cause they still had a full board at the end of their term.

“We have a sta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion with a full staff com­ple­ment. We have also up­graded the po­si­tion of fi­nan­cial man­ager to chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer in com­pli­ance with rec­om­men­da­tions from the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral.”

She said the ap­point­ment of Cindy Nkomo as op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor had added se­ri­ous muscle to the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“This is the first time that we have a fe­male in a top man­age­ment po­si­tion in our op­er­a­tion. I’m proud of that.”

Ravele does not hide her ela­tion at the fact that the sport has made a re­turn to live TV broad­casts on SABC’s Boxing is Back se­ries.

She says BSA had an ef­fect by tak­ing “qual­ity fights back to the peo­ple”, as fights were tak­ing place in several prov­inces.

But one can ar­gue that the move to bring live boxing back to liv­ing rooms was fa­cil­i­tated by the de­part­ment of sport un­der for­mer min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula. He also played a piv­otal role by ush­er­ing in a new era in the sport with the an­nounce­ment of the BSA ap­point­ments of Tsholofelo Le­jaka as chief ex­ec­u­tive and Tha­bang Moses as chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer.

The be­lea­guered gov­ern­ing body also re­ceived a cru­cial R11 mil­lion fi­nan­cial in­jec­tion from the de­part­ment to cover ad­min­is­tra­tion costs.

Le­jaka has per­formed a ster­ling job in restor­ing the im­age of the pro­fes­sional boxing body.

Chief di­rec­tor in charge of mar­ket­ing at the de­part­ment of sport, Mickey Modis­ane, said Nx­esi had not yet met with sports fed­er­a­tions, but was be­ing briefed on all sport-re­lated mat­ters by Deputy Min­is­ter Gert Oosthuizen and di­rec­tor-gen­eral Alec Moemi. City Press spoke to a num­ber of boxing stake­hold­ers, who of­fered dif­fer­ing views on how Ravele and her col­leagues had per­formed in at­tempt­ing to re­vi­talise the ail­ing sport. Dream Team Pro­mo­tions boss Lebo Ma­hoko said the board had done well dur­ing its term and de­served an­other chance. “They man­aged to bring back the live tele­vis­ing of boxing. Be­fore then, there was a black­out and, un­der Mu­di­ta­mbi’s guid­ance, they man­aged to en­sure that boxing is back on our screens,” said Ma­hoko. An­ton Gilmore of Gilmore Masters Pro­mo­tions said the BSA’s ad­min­is­tra­tion had been “very poor”. “Box­ers never got paid their purses on time as the BSA al­lowed some pro­mot­ers to de­posit money into the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ac­count at a late stage, and some­times even af­ter tour­na­ments.” Trainer Nor­man Hla­bane said: “BSA has killed boxing be­cause it gives certain box­ers fights, while others don’t see any ac­tion at all. This is de­stroy­ing the sport.”


CHIEF CEO Tsholofelo Le­jaka has turned BSA around MU­DI­TA­MBI RAVELE

MAR­KETER Mickey Modis­ane ex­pects the sports min­is­ter to meet with BSA soon

HOPE­FUL BSA board chair­per­son Mu­di­ta­mbi Ravele wants an­other term in of­fice

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