South African Boxing Bill: hearings

Sports, Arts and Culture

22 September 2000
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


22 September 2000

Chairperson: Ms N Bengu

Relevant documents:
South African National Boxing Control Commission submission [see Appendix 1]

In their submission, South African National Boxing Control Commission stated that the appointment of Commissioners should be made by the Minister though a parliamentary committee should provide a shortlist of recommended people that they have interviewed. Boxing should be on the same par with other sporting federations in the country and therefore the broadcasting rights of boxing matters should ultimately vest with Boxing SA. Provinces should not be responsible for licencing. The appointment of provincial officials and the siting of offices should be the preserve of Boxing SA and not the Minister.

South African National Boxing Control Commission
Advocate Solomons, the chairperson of the Commission, said they had prepared a general submission which seeks to affirm the provisions of the Bill and to respond to some of the concerns raised at the hearings. They have met the Minister and the Legal Adviser of the Department to discuss these issues. He clarified the recommendations in their submission:

Clause 1 Definition
More definitions of terms referred to in the Bill are required so that it will be clear exactly who is involved in boxing and what their responsibilities are.

Clause 6 Area of jurisdiction and office of Boxing SA
In 6(2), Boxing South Africa and not the Minister should determine the location of the national and provincial offices. This would be done in consultation with the government in order to create good working relations with all stakeholders.

Clause 7 Powers of Boxing SA
- Boxing agents (not only promoters) should also be registered with Boxing SA [see 7(1)(d)(v)].

- The time limits should be increased to 30 days [see Clause 7 (1)(j) and (w)]. For example, it would be unfair to tell a promoter that he will not get the licence to stage a fight only seven days prior to the date of the tournament.

Clause 9 Composition of Boxing SA
In 9(2), they support the appointment of Commissioners by the Minister and are against the past problematic practice of using electoral colleges. However some provincial Commissions made it clear that they are opposed to ministerial appointments. Therefore in the interests of achieving consensus, they suggest that the Portfolio Committee should interview potential candidates and submit a shortlist of recommended candidates from which the Minister can make appointments so that accountability is maximized and manipulation is avoided at all costs.

Clauses 9, 10 and 11
The Bill should not specify the job descriptions of the Commissioners nor the type of staff and their job descriptions as the situation might change and Boxing South Africa might need to be involved in other activities as indicated by the Constitution, e.g. development activities. The only specification should be that there should be at least one woman and one senior representative from amateur boxing.

Clause 13 Tenure of office…in Boxing SA
In 13(2), it should be specified that a member who is absent from meetings and is not participating in the activities of the Commission should be removed from office.

Clause 22 Composition of provincial office
The provincial official should be appointed by Boxing SA and not the Minister.

Clause 29 Broadcasting rights of tournaments
They proposed a complete rewrite of this clause. In 29(2), Advocate Solomons said that there is a need to deal with "sunset provisions". He had met some of the broadcasters, particularly the main contributor MNet. There is a view to open opportunities for up-and-coming promoters. Boxing South Africa is serious about that but at the moment Boxing SA survives with little funding from the government, which they struggle to get anyway. He said boxing should be on the same par with other sporting federations in the country and therefore the broadcasting rights of boxing matters should ultimately vest with Boxing SA.

Mr Dumile Mateza (CEO) presented further on the issue of broadcasting. He made the following points:
- The committee should look at the issue of broadcasting rights very seriously.
- Broadcasting is a very important component of sport.
- Boxing SA is not different from other sporting federations in the country like rugby, soccer, and cricket and should be unique to SA like other sporting federations.
- There is unfair distribution of the broadcasting rights. MNet deals with only one promoter, other promoters are dealt with by SABC.
- Boxing South Africa should leverage the sponsorship of tournaments. Even the British Boxing Commission operates in that way.
- SABC Topsport has set up a committee with the Commission that will arrange dates and times of broadcasting. Boxing SA and the Commission have to hammer out issues concerning broadcasting rights to make boxing a sport for all.

Mr C Frolick (UDM) said that Mr. Mateza must have followed the proceedings very closely. He asked three questions:
- What is the response on the question of licensing by the province, do the provinces have the capacity to carry that responsibility?
- During the hearing there was a view that the Minister was given too much powers. Is that not interfering with the affairs of the sport by the government of this country?
- How will broadcast licensing affect the promoters - because they make their money from it?

Mr E Ferreira (IFP) asked if a promoter has a right to broadcast, does he/she gain from the money that is paid by the broadcaster?

Mr Momberg (ANC) commented that the fact is that they are sitting with a situation where boxing is made a different sport from others. Much money is involved in rugby, cricket and soccer. He said they are trying to clear up the situation so that the boxing is run professionally. He said there is a jealousy amongst provinces about the question of licensing.

Addressing Mr Frolick's questions, Advocate Solomons said on the issue of government interference in the affairs of the sport that the Minister and the government should be involved in boxing. He said this is line with what people in boxing wanted because there were internal power struggles, people were drawing guns, there were threats and all kinds of intimidation. This is not what boxing should be, or how it should be run. The Minister wants to clear up boxing and he wants the Boxing SA to be accountable.

Adv. Solomons said that he is not siding with the Minister. He commented that the Minister does not want to interfere with boxing, in fact the Minister does not even like the fighting business considering his reaction to seeing punches being thrown in the ring. Adv. Solomons noted that there were engagements between the Minister and Boxing SA on how to make boxing an interesting sport - such as why a fight cannot be held in other provinces.

On licensing, Adv. Solomons said that if the Bill is read properly, Section 19 makes a provision for the delegation of powers. The provinces will act in conjunction with Boxing SA. "Boxing SA is not an island, it can't operate on its own", adding that the involvement of all stakeholders, including the provinces, is needed.

On the question of impact on promoters Adv. Solomons responded this way:
Arrangements will be made between Boxing SA, promoters and broadcasters on how to deal with the issue of licensing. He said there should be goodwill between all these stakeholders. He made an example of world title fights in other countries where the boxing commissions arrange fights with broadcasters and ask promoters as to who is willing to stage that fight. There is cooperation amongst all the people involved. Always there are penalties for anyone who transgresses the law.

Mr Mateza said that it is important that Boxing SA does licensing. It mustn't be a business to issue licenses. He said so-called promoters bribe to get licenses whereas they have never staged a fight. Keeping licencing with Boxing SA rather than the provinces is done to avoid that kind of corruption.

On broadcasting, Mr Mateza said it is not the intention of Boxing SA to get money from broadcasters. Boxing SA just wants to regulate that area of business. For example he said certain broadcasters can buy a tape of a boxing fight overseas, the money goes to the promoter who staged the fight, not to the Board. He said if there is no control of that area of business, it would be difficult to leverage sponsorships for fights. If this is not done, the sponsors will not get their money's worth.

Mr Momberg (ANC) pointed to Clause 9: Composition of the Board and asked if they are aware of a situation where a person who is appointed in such a position can be partisan?

Another ANC MP added that this would disallow boxers from electing representatives of their choice who can represent their interests.

Adv. Solomons said there is nothing that prevents a person from being elected in the Commission. It is their view that the Commissioners should be appointed by the Minister. The electoral colleges should not take part. The Portfolio Committee can make recommendations. The Portfolio Committee should interview people and provide a shortlist of recommended people from which Minister can appoint.

Mr. Mateza amplified by saying Clause 5 of the Bill answers that.

Mr. Frolick (UDM) asked whether there is a reference made ensuring that electoral colleges are representative of the various sectors.

Adv. Solomons said the electoral colleges are operating, criteria are set, the process is transparent. Despite this transparent process there is intimidation, threats have been received, guns are drawn before the appointment was made.

Mr C Morkel (NNP) asked what are the time frame with regard to when he should apply for licence?

He replied that the time frames are there - everybody knows when to apply for a license. The stakeholders will try to get sufficient consensus with all people involved in boxing. For example, for the referees, it must be ensured that the person has undergone certain courses before he can officiate in a boxing bout.

Ms Bhengu (ANC) asked three questions:
- Why in some circles is boxing said not to be a national sport?
- Why is marketing left in the hands of the private sector?
- How different will Board members be from those appointed in other departments, are they different from other public servants.

On the last question, Adv Solomons said that there is a clear-cut position on the role of Board members - they will be treated like Board members from other sporting federations. On marketing, he said that sponsors are the ones who put money on fights, so they must get their money's worth. Finally he said that boxing is a national sport. That is why the question of broadcasting is dealt with thoroughly to ensure that everyone interested in the sport is able to view it. If Dingaan Thobela is fighting for a world title, he is not fighting for Soweto fans only but for all South Africans - not Gauteng.

Mr Momberg said on the issue of electoral colleges, Parliament will make the final decision. Nobody doubts that Parliament is the absolute Electoral College in this country. The Portfolio Committee would submit the names to Parliament and the final recommendations will come from Parliament.

Adv. Solomons noted that this Act is supposed to represent the interest of boxers. Clause 41 provides for the association of boxers. They can form or join any association whenever they deem necessary to do so. Boxers are an interest group as well.

Mr Ferreira (IFP) said that the problem he had with the Bill is that it sounds nice, but in the end it does not give the stakeholders enough role to play. He said that is the feeling one got from the provincial Commissions. "Is there no way that you can give stakeholders enough role to play"?

Adv. Solomons replied that there is enough role for stakeholders, seemingly people have not read the Bill properly.

Mr Morkel (NNP) said he is concerned about the time frames on the issuing of licenses in Clause 7. It is not clear when Boxing SA should get back to the applicant.

Advocate Solomons concluded that the role of the provinces would be decided later after all inputs are made. He said that even he now has some reservations because of the inputs that were made at the meeting since the inputs that provinces have minimal powers in boxing. He thanked everyone present in the meeting for their contribution.

Appendix 1:




This submission is in amplification of our general input that was previously provided to the Committee in respect of the operation of the SANBCC; its vision; and strategies to ensure that South African boxing is administered professionally for the benefit of our country and its people. We also wish to re-affirm the fact that in essence the SANBCC concurs with the objects, spirit and provisions of the Bill. Hereunder, please follow our more detailed comments in respect of various provisions of the Act as well as a response to some of the concerns raised during these hearings and to us.

Our input must not be construed to be an attack on the relevant provisions. We have actually, since our last presentation to the Committee met with both the Minister and the Department's Legal Advisor and are pleased to inform the Committee that all the mentioned parties are ad idem with this presentation. Whilst some of our suggestions are merely of a technical nature, others are more substantive:

Ad para 1

We need to provide for more definitions, example: MANAGER; TRAINER; BOXING; BOXER; BROADCASTING; etc.

Rationale: - This would provide for more certainty.

Ad para 2(a): -

Insert the word 'RSA' before Constitution

Rationale: - We must be clear that we refer to the country's constitution.

Ad para 6 (2) Location of Provincial Office

Location of Provincial office should be determined by BSA after consulting the Minister and MEC.

Rationale: - It is our view that this is an operational matter that should best be dealt with by BSA. However, due to the fact that it would want to engender a close working relationship with the MEC's office/provincial DSR we suggest the necessity for consultation and involving them in this process.

Ad para 7 (1)(d)(v)

We propose that the Act should provide for the registration of agents (agents, to negotiate, subject to the provisions of this Act, with any person in respect of the holding of a boxing tournament and or procuring the services of a boxer.

Rationale: - It is our view that agents are starting to play a role that is not too dissimilar to that of promoters and thus should also be registered by the BSA. They are becoming more and more influential in boxing.

Ad para 7 (1)(j)(i)

It is our view that the Seven days to be changed to thirty days.

Rationale: To be in line with the other periods. This will give BSA sufficient time to apply its mind to the matter at hand, especially if it wants to disapprove a particular fight.

Ad para 7 (1)(j)(v)

Change fourteen days to thirty days.

Rationale: As above.

Ad para 7 (1)(w)

Amend the provision as follows: "… any professional boxer [and any promoter, agent or boxing official] taking part in ……….."

Rationale: - This addition is made to ensure that not only boxers are covered but also others who are closely linked to the sport.

Ad para 7 (1)(w)(I)

Change twenty one days to thirty days.

Rationale: As for para 7 (1)(j)(i), above.

Ad para 9(1)

Delete points (b), (c) and (d) and replace it with the following:

"[(b) four ordinary members of whom at least one (I) must be a woman; and

  1. at least one should be a senior representative from amateur boxing]"

Rationale: - It is our view that we should not give an indication of the Commissioners' job descriptions in the Act. The situation might change tomorrow then the Act will have to be amended again. Our suggestion caters for the fact that we want a woman and a senior representative from amateur boxing on the Commission.

Ad para 9(2)

It is our understanding that some of the Provincial Commissions, with some MEC's, have lodged strong objections about the Minister's involvement in the appointment of the Commissioners.

It is our humble opinion that the Commissioners should be appointed by the Minister because after all he has legislative responsibility for boxing in the country and the BSA accounts through him to Parliament. One of the key problems in the past was the role that ELECTORAL COLLEGES played in the appointment of Commissioners. We are NOT SUPPORTIVE of the idea of allowing ELECTORAL COLLEGES to be in any way involved in the appointment of Commissioners.

However, if it can assist the process of achieving consensus then we would suggest that the Portfolio Committee could hold interviews with the relevant candidates (those who applied and were recommended by others) and recommend a shortlist to the Minister from whom he could make the relevant appointments. S9 (2) must then be appropriately amended to provide for the afore-mentioned.

Rationale: This would go a long way to addressing some of the concerns raised.

Ad para 10 and 11

Delete these paragraphs.

Rationale: - Paragraph 16 already provides for the appointment of employees of

Boxing South Africa as it may deem fit. We do not think that one should specify in the Act what type of staff it should appoint and spell out their duties. The situation might change where BSA may require other TYPES of employees then it will be bound by a legislative provision that will necessitate a legislative amendment.

Ad Para 13(2)

Insert the following "if he/she does not perform his/her functions satisfactorily" as point (f)

Rationale: - this is to provide for the removal of incompetent, lazy, etc. Commissioners by the Minister.

Ad para 19(1)

Replace "Director" with [CEO] and also insert this word "[The Board of] Boxing SA

, ……………………."

Rationale: - It is the Board of Boxing SA who delegates some of its power to its most senior official, namely the CEO, who in turn will delegate certain powers to members of his staff.

Ad para 22 [Provincial Offices]

This provision needs to be reworked in order to provide for:

1. the fact that BSA would be a unitary structure;

2. for real co-operative governance between the BSA, the Minister, and the MEC.

3. accountability of the Provincial Office

Rationale: If the Provincial Office is an extension of Boxing SA then we think the representative or official in that Province should be appointed by the Board of Boxing SA or its CEO, because after all this person would be an employee of BSA. A view is held that it is not necessary for him/her to be appointed by the Minister as per para 22(1).

We are of the view that this Provincial representative should account to the Boxing SA on boxing matters, with a copy of such report merely be handed to the MEC responsible for sport and recreation [para 22 should this be amended. It is not good management practice to have two (2) bosses.

If the officials of the Provincial Office are to be regarded as part of Boxing SA then they must be paid by that organization. We would suggest that the relevant Provincial Ministry/DSR be seriously encouraged to financially support that office. BSA can reach such an understanding with the MEC and such an approach should have been agreed to as well at MINMEC level. (Para 22(7) should thus be amended accordingly).

In respect of the views that were expounded that this provision negatively

Impacts on the powers of Provincial MEC'S. It is our understanding that in terms

of schedule 5 of the RSA's constitution Provinces have exclusive legislative

competencies in respect of provincial sport. Boxing is regarded as a national entity with

arms and legs in the Provinces.

Rationale: If our proposed changes are entertained we contend that this concern

can be dispensed with. In any case, in terms of the existing Act, Mec's in the respective Provinces have no real powers in respect of boxing matters except to assist with the electoral processes. We thus find the complaints about derogation of powers extremely

strange! It is our considered view that NONE of the Provinces' existing powers are being adversely affected by the amended provisions as proposed by us.

Ad para 26-28 (LOCAL OFFICES)

The comments made in respect of Provincial officials apply mutatis mutandis

Ad para 29 Broadcasting

It is our view that ultimately the broadcasting rights in respect of boxing matters should vest in the BSA, as is the case with other major sports federations in the country. Lots of comments were made about this matter. Attached, is a more detailed submission in this regard. However, because this is such a sensitive matter we are proposing that this whole paragraph be amended and be amended in the following manner:

"Broadcast of tournaments and broadcasting rights

29 (1) Boxing tournaments and events are to be broadcast subject to the provisions of the Broadcasting Act, 1999 (Act No. 4 of 1999) and the other relevant policies; legislation; and regulations.

29(2) Broadcasting rights of a boxing tournament or event to be the property of BSA who may make it available to others"

Should the Committee be averse to including the above suggested clause 29(2) or a variant thereof, we would like to suggest as an alternative that the issue of broadcasting rights should be removed from the provisions of the Act because it could quite easily be accommodated in the regulations and/or agreements reached between BSA and broadcasters.

Fruitful initial discussions were held with some of the broadcasters, particularly Supersport. We agreed that we will work together to actively seek solutions to address the following key questions:

  • Opening opportunities for other promoters, other than the so-called 'big-one's'
  • Access to viewing so-called big fights by the broader population.
  • Financial sustainability of the BSA.

Rationale: Due to the sensitivity of the matter and not to unnecessarily destabilize boxing the above approach is recommended. This would provide sufficient time to obtain sufficient consensus, including with the promoters.

Where promoter is mentioned it should read "promoter/agent".

It is trusted that you will find our input useful when you must discharge your immense





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