Mys­tery grows over prov­ince’s R23.7m Lotto box­ing arena

Daily Dispatch - - Front Page - BON­GANI FUZILE and MESULI ZIFO

Box­ing arena? Where? This was the re­sponse of Box­ing SA (BSA) in the prov­ince to the news that the Na­tional Lot­ter­ies Com­mis­sion (NLC) more than a year ago paid R23.7m to build a state-ofthe-art box­ing fa­cil­ity in the East­ern Cape.

NLC spokesper­son Ndi­vhuwo Mafela con­firmed the com­mis­sion had ap­proved a grant in the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year.

It was made to a com­pany called Nun­no­va­tion Africa Foun­da­tion.

Mafela said the arena was in the Storms River area in the Koukamma mu­nic­i­pal­ity and it was near com­ple­tion.

How­ever, BSA East­ern Cape man­ager Phakamile Ja­cobs said while they longed for such a fa­cil­ity, he knew noth­ing about the prov­ince get­ting one and had never heard of Nun­no­va­tion.

“What you are telling me is news as we know noth­ing about a box­ing arena that has been built in the prov­ince.

“We dream of hav­ing such a fa­cil­ity. We are con­stantly us­ing mu­nic­i­pal­ity halls like the Ori­ent The­atre.

“I can say there’s no such box­ing arena that we know of as BSA in this prov­ince.”

Adding to the puz­zle is the fact that the Storms River area does not fea­ture on the box­ing map, un­like ar­eas like Mdantsane, Dun­can Vil­lage and Port El­iz­a­beth, which are known for pro­duc­ing some of the best box­ers in the world.

BSA East­ern Prov­ince rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nceba Dladla, whose ju­ris­dic­tion cov­ers the Koukamma mu­nic­i­pal­ity, said he had never han­dled a box­ing event in Storms River.

“I did not even know that Storms River is un­der my ju­ris­dic­tion,” he said.

“I am sur­prised now if you say there is a box­ing arena there, and the ques­tion is, who does it serve?”

The Koukamma lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity ward coun­cil­lor in Storms River, Hester Pullen, said she was also not aware of a box­ing arena in her area.

“There’s a hall that was built with the sup­port of Lotto. But there’s no sign that it is a box­ing arena, but maybe it’s a mul­ti­pur­pose cen­tre,” she said.

The pro­vin­cial depart­ment of sport, recre­ation arts & cul­ture sim­i­larly pleaded ig­no­rance.

Gen­eral man­ager Ba­fundi Makhubalo said he had heard talk of the need for such an arena by the then sports min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula.

“I know for a fact that min­is­ter Mbalula men­tioned the need for a box­ing arena but I never heard if it was built,” he said.

Mafela con­firmed the build­ing of such a fa­cil­ity in Storms River but said it has not yet been oc­cu­pied.

“The or­gan­i­sa­tion [Nun­no­va­tion] was al­lo­cated the said amount in June of the 2017/18 fi­nan­cial year.

The box­ing arena has not been oc­cu­pied as yet. How­ever, the struc­ture is com­plete with roof and plas­ter­ing and the con­trac­tor is now busy with fenc­ing, to be fol­lowed by plumb­ing and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.”

Two years af­ter its reg­is­tra­tion, Nun­no­va­tion, which is based in Cen­tu­rion, Pre­to­ria, re­ceived the mul­ti­mil­lion-rand fund­ing to build a box­ing arena in the East­ern Cape.

The ex­ec­u­tive chair of Nun­no­va­tion, Khathu Mashau, said they had changed the venue an in­door sports cen­tre, rather than a box­ing arena.

“En­gage­ments with the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity moved the project to not only fo­cus on box­ing, but con­sider other sport­ing codes. Thus it is now an in­door sports fa­cil­ity,” said Mashau.

He would not an­swer to whether BSA was aware of such a venue.

Asked how much they had re­ceived and spent for the hall, he re­ferred the Dis­patch to NLC.

There’ sa hall that was built with the sup­port of Lotto. But there’s no sign that it is a box­ing arena

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