Boxing the victim of vicious contest

2013-01-06 10:00

The administration of boxing in South Africa has been shambolic and last year was no different.

Boxing South Africa (BSA), the “custodians of boxing in this country”, as board chairman Ngconde Balfour likes to claim, has been plagued by all sorts of crises, from poor governance to disastrous financial regulation.

The incumbent board has been in office for only a year, but three members have already left because they couldn’t handle the pressure that comes with being a BSA board member.

This year the boxing controlling body failed boxers, thanks to an egotistical, bitter contest with promoters in and out of court at the expense of taxpayers.

The entity decided to take over the control of TV rights, stripping promoters of the privilege they have enjoyed over the years.

The move angered prominent promoter Branco Milenkovic, who maintains that the motion is unlawful.

The Branco Sports Productions’ boss launched an application to prevent BSA from signing a broadcasting rights contract with SABC and the matter is due to be heard this year.

Uncertainty surrounded the broadcasting rights fiasco, with BSA chief executive Moffat Qithi and Balfour contradicting one another on numerous occasions on whether or not an agreement has been sealed between them and the public broadcaster.

Then there is the R4 million defamation case that Milenkovic launched against BSA and Qithi in his personal capacity.

This is the same BSA that pleaded a lack of funds to fulfil some of its duties.

As the saying goes, when two bulls fight, it is the grass that suffers and this became evident in the bitter battle between BSA and Milenkovic, which subjected many boxers to a continuous SABC TV blackout.

While the two parties have been battling it out in the broadcasting rights debacle, desperate boxers and promoters have been staging untelevised tournaments to keep in shape and to avoid being stripped of their belts.

Financial and governance crises also rocked BSA as a result of the 2011/2012 Auditor-General’s report, which slammed BSA with charges of wasteful and irregular expenditure and lack of accountability for some transactions from the entity’s bank account.

Last November, BSA locked horns with promoters over contracts signed with boxers, which will no longer be recognised by the regulatory body.

And recently, the boxing sanctioning body failed to file its counter affidavit in due time for the broadcasting rights court tussle with Milenkovic, in so doing being found in contempt of court and fined to pay back Milenkovic’s legal costs.

All these developments occurred in the wake of the chaotic financial affairs at the boxing sanctioning body.

Staff members at BSA have been holding secret meetings in corners, unhappy and concerned about the always-absent Qithi, which resulted in Mtya having to fulfil CEO Qithi’s responsibilities on several occcasions.

The previous BSA administration made headlines with the tax evasion scandal and their successors have continued to make the news for all the wrong reasons.

The problems engulfing BSA have been attributed to what have been deemed political appointments of board members who, by law, are selected by the minister of sport and recreation in South Africa.

Some sports consultants have blamed the Boxing Act of 2001, which makes boxing the only sport governed by an act of Parliament.

The Act has been a bone of contention between promoters and BSA.

The boxing controlling body has spent most of 2012 fighting fires, in the process causing the slow demise of the beautiful sport.

The less said about the SA National Boxing Organisation (Sanabo), which is in charge of amateur boxing, the better.

Sanabo has been at loggerheads with the SA Sports Confederations and Olympics Committee (Sascoc) over the legitimacy of its leadership.

Amateur boxing has become a joke thanks to the unnecessary bickering between the two parties.

The need for change is becoming a matter of utmost importance in the local administration of boxing.

If the current state of affairs at BSA and Sanabo continues unattended to this year, boxing lovers must brace themselves for more of the same shambles that has characterised local boxing in recent years.

SA Boxing_s 2012 Winners and Losers-095

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