SA government had no choice to sack former Boxing SA board as it had ‘taken them for a ride’

Patrice Motsepe (CAF President), Gianni Infantino (FIFA President), Cyril Ramaphosa (President of South Africa) and Zizi Kodwa (Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture of South Africa) during the African Football League 2023 Final match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Waydad at the Loftus Stadium

Zizi Kodwa, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, announced a new Boxing South Africa (BSA) board at a media briefing in Pretoria, on Tuesday. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Nov 29, 2023


Zizi Kodwa, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, announced a new Boxing South Africa (BSA) board at a media briefing in Pretoria, on Tuesday.

Only one member of the former board, Sakhiwe Sodo, was retained on the new seven-member board, which will take office on December 12. Their term will end in 2026.

It has come as no surprise the controversial incumbent board was sent packing. Last week, they came under fire from Parliament’s portfolio committee on sport, arts and culture.

After listening to the board, parliamentarian Tshepo Mhlongo persuaded Kodwa to take firm action against the boxing regulatory body. He said BSA’s acting CEO Nsikayezwe Sithole and Sakhiwe Sodo, BSA’s sanctioning committee chairperson, misled the house when responding to the questions.

‘Taken for a ride’

Another member of the portfolio committee, Eugene Mthethwa, was also angry with BSA. He said: “Many of us were unhappy with BSA’s responses. As a result, at the end of the meeting, members were saying: ‘Kudlalwe ngathi la’ (’We’ve been taken for a ride’)."

Former boxing promoter Sifiso Shongwe is the new chair of the board. He has proved his worth as a promoter and has been the most active over the past 12 months. Unlike many South African promoters, Shongwe did not rely on government funds to stage events.

Apart from Shongwe and Sodo, the remaining members are Princess Mangoma, Nande Mheshe, Luxolo September, Romy Titus and Dr Mary-Gene Manthata-Setati. One worrying aspect of the new board is that some of these members have had no contact with boxing in the past.

A major problem of the board, and indeed many others down the years, is that they failed to adhere to the Boxing Act, which governed professional boxing in the country.

Board members are required by law to adhere to the provisions of the Boxing Act, but for years they have flouted the Boxing Act without facing consequences.

For many months now, the board has made a laughingstock of itself, and members have been extensively mocked on social media.

The Minister urged BSA to raise funds, rather than rely on the government for their day-to-day operations.

Don’t rely on government funds

“You can’t have an entity that still depends on the government at this stage. It’s not possible with all the challenges we face in terms of our fiscus.

“So we need to look at corporate, but you can’t do that if you don’t have stable leadership and you’re not right in terms of corporate governance.

“If you look at the composition of the new board they bring diverse expertise, skills and so on, it’s the people who bring the stability we need in BSA.”

The Minister also touched on the matter of South Africa withdrawing from the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup bid.

He said: "We (the government) have noted the media statement from the South African Football Association (SAFA) to withdraw its bid to host the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup 2027.

"The Government of South Africa was clear in November 2022 when supporting SAFA’s Expression of Interest in hosting the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup that the letter cannot be considered an underwriting, a guarantee or a financial commitment by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture or any other Department in the Republic of South Africa.

"The Department has fully supported SAFA in providing the Federation with a platform to address various levels of government.

"The government was also prepared to participate in the FIFA Observer programme for potential host Cities during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.

"We respect the decision by SAFA to work towards a well-prepared bid in 2031."

Eminent Persons Group, which oversees transformation in sport, will also have a new board. The members are Dr Sithembile Mbete (chair), Nonhlanhla Nzuza, Ria Ledwaba, Dr Len Konar, Ivor Hoff, Samkelo Radebe, Andile Nqini, Maxwell Jordaan, Professor Christo de Coning and Ciska Austin.

IOL Sport