Boxing South Africa (BSA) briefed the Committee on its Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2019 and the 2015 Annual Performance Plan (APP). The strategic goals focused on ensuring that there was an effective, efficient and sustainable organisation; on the development and transformation of boxing and creation of a synergy between professional and amateur boxing; on ensuring marketing of boxing as a sport; and on promoting the interaction between associations of boxers, managers, promoters, trainers and officials and BSA, and it was explained how each of the programmes would further those goals. It was noted also that BSA would be prioritising proper compliance with key aspects of the legislation and enforcement of rules and regulations.
A number of risk issues were identified, and the mitigation strategies for these risks and challenges were set out. The risks included insufficient funding and lack of revenue sustenance, key strategic positions left unfilled and identification of new structures and constraints within the South African Boxing Act, as well as some elements of non-compliance with the legislation by licensees. There had been some negative coverage of boxing, which would be dealt with by the development of a communication and media liaison strategy and education of stakeholders. BSA would be focusing also on boxing mobilisation events and strategic stakeholder networking, as well as increasing the numbers of licensees and tournaments. BSA would be lobbying for television rights with at least one broadcaster, developing a marketing and branding strategy and securing sponsorship for boxing sport, whilst also promoting the sport nationally to attract additional funding.
Members suggested that BSA needed to fill the positions in marketing and promotion and boxing development as it was impossible to achieve all its 2015/16 deliverables without these key positions being filled. They appreciated the concerted effort to revive boxing in the country as it captured the imagination of young people and had the potential to curb drug and alcohol abuse in the youth in particular. One Member expressed disappointment that most local municipalities were no longer providing gymnasiums for the aspiring boxers, pointing out that most of the world champions had come from small or rural communities. There was an appeal to look at the pockets of boxing excellence in the country and try to revive boxing in these areas,in particular, so as to retain the skills of the current trainers and offer retired boxers the necessary skills to become trainers and promoters. Members wanted to know more about the restructuring, the organogram and who were permanent members, and asked for more details on permanent and contracted staff, and also of interns. One of the concerns was that the entity had not managed to produce or present financial statements, and it was noted that not only did BSA not have a permanent Chief Financial Officer at this point, but the Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Sport and Recreation, who had assisted it, had also resigned. Members also asked what amendments were being proposed to the Boxing Act, and who was proposing them. BSA was asked to make sure that the South African National Boxing Organisation, representing amateurs, was brought along to future presentations, and the Committee was disappointed that the Department was not present on this occasion. Members were pleased to hear of the upcoming conference with the South African Local Government Organisation that would promote planning of spaces and reservation of space for recreational structures, and commented that this Committee would engage with others dealing with local government to try to support these efforts.
Boxing South Africa (BSA) 2015 Strategic Plan briefing
Ms Muditambi Ravele, Chairperson, Boxing South Africa, presented the 2015/16 Strategic Plan of the organisation (BSA). She noted that the strategic goals, in turn, focused on the following:
- ensuring there is an effective, efficient and sustainable organisation
- ensuring development and transformation of boxing and the creation of synergy between professional and amateur boxing
- ensuring that there will be marketing of boxing
- promoting interaction between associations of boxers, managers, promoters, trainers and officials and BSA.
She noted that Programme 1 was dedicated to governance and administration. Programme 2 focused on Boxing development, and Programme 3 on boxing promotion.
The focus in governance and administration was to provide strategic leadership, good corporate governance and to ensure the overall administration and financial sustainability of boxing. Boxing development prioritised compliance with the key aspects of the Boxing Act, and Rules Regulations and BSA would enforce their application where non-compliance was observed. This programme would drive compliance with the licensing of practitioners, sanctioning of BSA events, rating of boxers as well as the coordination of training needs of all licensees to enable them to meet the requirements of the regulations. The Boxing Promotion programme would focus on the promotion and marketing of boxing to improve its public profile, increase its brand value, as well as coordinate premium BSA events across the country.
She then briefly described the strategic objectives for each programme. In Programme 1, there would be a focus on strengthening governance and oversight, improving administrative capacity and stakeholder engagement frameworks. The strategic objectives for Programme 2 paid more attention to education and awareness, compliance and enforcement, partnership agreements and Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with international sanction bodies, and the amendment of Boxing Act. There was also a concerted effort to incorporate women into boxing and broaden national coverage of boxing matches. The strategic objectives for Programme 3 prioritised marketing and communication strategy, boxing sponsorship and revenue generation and possible funding models.
Dr Malefetsane Ngatane, Board member, Boxing South Africa, stated that the BSA had managed to identify risk areas and implement mitigatory action. The issue of insufficient funding and lack of revenue sustenance was identified as a potential risk, and the mitigation actions were focused on soliciting sponsorship, developing a revenue generation and collection strategy and to reviving and maintaining relationships with broadcasters.
There was a challenge with key strategic positions that were still unfilled but there was a strategy in place to review the current organogram, fill all vacant posts and attract and retain skilled personnel. There was also a constraint in lack of full compliance with legislation and there was effort to lobby for review and amendment of the Act and create awareness across all stakeholders. It was of concern that some of the licensees were not complying with, or were dissatisfied with SA Boxing regulations and the focus would be on enforcing compliance with all legislation, on consultation and stakeholder awareness and BSA would then review process and procedures.
There was a need to deal with the negative coverage of boxing by developing a communication and media liaison strategy, informing and educating stakeholders.
Ms Ravele mentioned that the BSA would focus on various sub-programmes in the Annual Performance Plan (APP), and on the 2015/16 deliverables. She explained that for Programme 1, this meant a focus on meetings of the Board and its sub committees and implementation of Board resolutions. Reports on management of the entity and the implementation of Board resolutions would be drawn by the CEO. In regard to stakeholder mobilisation, there would be more focus on boxing mobilisation events and strategic stakeholder networking. The 2015/16 deliverables under boxing development would specifically focus on increasing the number of registered licensees by BSA, sanctioned events or tournaments as per the set standards and ratings conducted by BSA. There would also be a focus on training of boxers and ring officials and developing life skills. Licensees and boxing facilities would be visited across the country to check the levels of compliance and ensure that licensees were in compliance with regulations. The 2015/16 deliverables under boxing promotion would prioritise mainly on lobbying television rights with at least one broadcaster, developing a marketing and branding strategy and securing sponsorship for boxing sport. The Board would identify and promote, on a national basis, boxing premium events so as to ensure that boxing would get significant coverage and exposure, to acquire additional funding.
Ms L Dlamini (ANC, Mpumalanga) welcomed the presentation and appreciated that the Board took the advice to have a linear structure. However, she made the point that it would be impossible for the entity to achieve its 2015/16 deliverables without filling the positions in marketing and promotion and boxing development. The operational manager needed to look after the business of the office and could not manage to execute all the tasks at the same time.
Ms Ravele responded that indeed BSA needed to look at filling vacant positions in marketing and promotion especially now that boxing matches would be going back to television. BSA might need to look at sub-contracting out that activity, or employing a dedicated person. BSA would obviously have to consider the cost implications and find the best and most cost-effective solution to give the desired results, as the salary bill of the entity was already quite high.
Dr Ngatane noted that he also supported the suggestion for the entity to have an office of development so as to capacitate the new promoters to be able to be retained within the boxing industry, which once again required additional funding.
Mr J Julius (DA, Gauteng) welcomed the presentation, and especially the indication of the need to revive boxing. He noted that this sport could capture the imagination of young people and had the potential to curb drug and alcohol abuse that was so rife in communities. He suggested that the promotion of boxing should also focus on schools, and even start from the primary level. There were pockets of boxing excellence in the country and this was usually where the best trainers were located. The country used to produce world champions who had come from small communities. However, around ten to twelve years ago, the local municipalities stopped providing gymnasiums for the aspiring boxers. There was also concern that the trainers were getting older and they were not transferring the skills to young and aspiring boxers. He appealed to BSA to look at these pockets of boxing excellence in the country, and try to revive boxing in these areas, in order to retain the skills of the trainers and offer the retired boxers the necessary skills to become trainers and promoters.
Ms Ravele responded that the entity would need to bring in South African National Boxing Organisation (SANBO) when making the presentation, as it was responsible for amateur boxing. Both developmental and professional boxing should be covered. The Boxing Act stipulated that the entity should work with SANBO, but in fact SANBO was given the responsibility to focus on development of amateur boxing all round the country. The lack of facilities was a thorny issue and there was an upcoming national conference with South African Local Government Association (SALGA) where all sports federations would be meeting with municipalities, during which this and other points would be debated. BSA would be pushing for indoor facilities, which could be used for all other sport federations for sports that lent themselves to be played indoors, given that resources were limited. The Department of Sports and Recreation, through the Minister, had allocated funds to SANBO and put the organisation in place for boxing being sport of the year, so that there should be support for boxing at school level and in preparation for the Olympics.
Dr Ngatane stated that development was an on-going and not a static process and indeed SANBO was the organisation that was geared up for the development of amateur boxers, to hand them over later to the professional level. The BSA was responsible for developing those boxers that were entering the professional level, coming directly from amateur, and that included preparation on how to handle the media and finances. The focus on development was not only on that particular individual in terms of boxing, but went further to honing of overall skills. BSA had been engaging with local municipalities to ensure that the gymnasiums would be available and the Committee could be provided with information on the programmes that were aimed at development of boxers at grass-roots level.
He reminded the Members that there was no longer such a term as "amateur boxing" as it was now called "open boxing". This was because the international amateur organisation came up with a ruling that the amateur and professional boxers should not be training in the same area. This ruling had also resulted in the closure of many gymnasiums around the country. Both BSA and SANBO were trying to regenerate that aspect. BSA had consulted the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in trying to re-introduce boxing in different primary and high schools, but it was preferred that SANBO should take this responsibility rather than BSA. It was unfortunate that some of the gymnasiums had been taken over and converted into other structures, including schools and housing. He admitted that it would be helpful to emphasise that it had been difficult to engage with the local municipalities in order to get dedicated facilities for the training of boxers and the intervention of the Committee would be appreciated in this instance.
The Chairperson appreciated that the presentation by the entity was of necessity quite short, and the Committee was cognisant of the fact that BSA was not a big entity, but its task was enormous. She wanted to know more about the restructuring of the organogram and asked for more detail on the people who had been put on a short-term contract. She also wanted details of how many people in total were employed in BSA She also asked what were the possible amendments to the Boxing Act, and who was proposing those? She commented that it was disappointing that this presentation failed to touch on the financial position of the entity, which she thought was the most serious omission, as this could have helped the Committee. Finally, she asked about the outreach and whether it was possible to train young people in rural areas.
Dr Ngatane responded that the entity used to go to rural areas and build up structures to develop boxing in regions like Mthatha and Free State but the main problem was the maintenance of those structures. The arrangement in the past was that the facilities should be used for a multi-sporting environment in which all the sporting codes would be accommodated, and the municipalities could be able to provide security for those facilities. However, this arrangement was failing in many areas, and only succeeding in pockets. Vandalism continued to be a major problem. Most of the great boxers in the country were originally from rural areas, and all the world champions in Limpopo and Eastern Cape came from rural areas. Development should start in rural areas, and should be strengthened in other areas where most boxers are based.
Ms Ravele responded on questions around the organogram, and said the entity was still struggling to fill in the position of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Most of the people that had left the entity had resigned, but some were still going through the disciplinary procedures. There would be no legal challenge around the restructuring of the entity. There were six students who were interns, but currently the BSA had only three interns left, as some of them had been absorbed by the Department of Sports and Recreation. BSA was trying its best to ensure that the interns would be able to be absorbed permanently when the posts were advertised, but they would also have to go through the rigorous process of applying for the posts. She apologised that the entity did not provide its budget allocation, noting that this was due to BSA not having a Chief Financial Officer at present. BSA had been using the CFO of the Department, who had also resigned. This meant that BSA would have to use an external company in order to compile its financial statements for audit.
She noted that the Department and BSA were still looking at the provisions that could be amended in the Boxing Act and there was a suggestion to call different licensees to give their inputs on the Bill. There were still concerns around the fact that SANBO might be regulated by one regulator. Currently, BSA had twelve staff members and there was a possibility that there might be an increase in the composition, especially in regard to training and development.
Dr Ngatane added that there was a group of ten interns that were received from the Department, now reduced to six, of which two were now employed in the entity and in fact formed a backbone when considering the on-going disciplinary hearings.
The Chairperson reiterated that it was indeed problematic that the entity omitted to present its financials especially for the purposes of accountability, the amount of money for each programme and the targets that had been set and the way to achieve those targets relative to the allocated budget. The Department of Sports and Recreation should also have been present in the Committee meeting, as BSA was financed through the Department.
Ms Ravele again extended her apology for the omission of financial information, but promised that the Committee would be provided with financial details in writing.
The Chairperson thanked all of those present, and urged that BSA should, in future, bring along SANBO when making presentations, as SANBO had a role to play and answers to provide to the Committee. The Committee would need to engage with other select committees of Parliament on the issue of local municipalities and the unavailability of gymnasiums, to discuss, at the correct level, the planning of spaces and reservation of space for recreational structures. The issue of keeping children busy at any sporting or cultural activity was critically important, and must not be regarded as trivial, as it was vital in the fight against drug and alcohol abuse. She appreciated the conference with SALGA, where all sports federations would be meeting with municipalities.
The meeting was adjourned.
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