Proposed Combat Sports Bill floored

2013-09-22 14:00

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Delegates to boxing indaba want politicians kept out of the sport.

The question likely to dominate Friday and Saturday’s National Boxing Indaba in Pretoria is whether to adopt the proposed SA Combat Sports Bill or retain the Boxing Act.

The bill, which seeks to regulate all combat sports under one piece of legislation, has been rejected by some provinces, while others have given it the thumbs up.

Gauteng already voiced its reservations about the bill at its provincial indaba two weeks ago.

But the province also wants the Boxing Act scrapped and has proposed that boxing should be governed by an independent federation, like other sporting codes.

Limpopo agrees with Gauteng. Both have rejected the view the Boxing Act appears to perpetuate: that boxing is a brutal and physically dangerous sport.

Solly Selebi, a former member of Boxing SA (BSA) who was invited to the Gauteng indaba, said the province rejected the new bill and urged other combat sporting codes to do the same.

According to him, boxing will only flourish if it is independent of government.

“People have died in other sports too and treating combat sports differently is unwarranted,” said Selebi.

The Western Cape provincial indaba passed a resolution adopting the bill, which was supported by the boxing fraternity in the province.

Broader consultation was called for in Eastern Cape, but the province agreed the Boxing Act has been stifling boxing.

Khathu Sadiki, the spokesperson for the Limpopo sport, arts and culture department, said his province would oppose the bill at the national indaba.

“Many delegates at our indaba argued that rugby and cricket are just as dangerous as boxing,” said Sadiki.

Selebi said he was concerned by politicians’ interference in the sport.

“The very Boxing Act that everyone is saying is no good for boxing was created by politicians and now another bill is being proposed by them,” he said.

Whether or not the proposed bill garners support at the national indaba, the national department of sport and recreation is likely to adopt it anyway.

South African combat sports bill 2009

To provide for the regulation, control and general supervision of combat sports in the republic; to ensure the effective and efficient administration of combat sports in the republic; to recognise amateur combat sports; and to create synergy between professional and amateur combat sports to ensure the effective and efficient administration of combat sports in the republic.

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