Boxing SA progress report; SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport on Post-Olympics doping results

Sports, Arts and Culture

21 February 2017
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by the South African Institute of Drug-Free Sports (SAIDS) on their anti-doping strategy leading up to the Rio Olympics and Paralympics. SAIDS strategy began a year before the games and was focused on testing and anti-doping education of athletes and coaches. It was emphasised that SAIDS strove to maintain a close working relationship with South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) on qualifiers, with emphasis on the performance of SA athletes in continental levels and international ratings. Other strategies included the testing and education of athletes, coaches and team personnel. SAIDS also collaborated with foreign counterparts to test SA athletes competing in their countries if they formed part of  Team SA, and it was thus able to identify two SA athletes who had tested positive for banned substances leading up to the Olympics. SAIDS was also asked to form part of the International anti-doping task force that helped develop Olympics and Paralympics testing strategy for all sporting codes, a mark of its recognition, and had worked closely with the Rio Local Organising Committee.  South Africa had previously had the only approved testing laboratory on the Continent and this was being assessed by the world agency at the moment.  SAIDS actively reminded athletes of their responsibilities, had a website listing substances and acceptable medication and tutored them on how to apply for therapeutic use of exemptions. It was using new technology. A brief feedback on the post audit results from a financial perspective noted that there was some overspending on budget, but SAIDS had put processes in place to avoid recurrence.

Members asked for feedback on the official laboratories and their status, and several Members asked how athletes who claimed to have doped inadvertently were dealt with and what engagements SAIDS had with drug companies, and why doping continued to be a problem. They also asked how SAIDS was gaining access to schools and its relationship with the Department of Basic Education. SAIDS noted that if the laboratories were accredited, it would be useful for the Committee to meet with them.

Boxing South Africa (BSA) presented its third quarter report and an update on the Eastern Cape Promoters Organisation, who had approached the Committee in the previous year with various issues. In this quarter, BSA achieved 65% of non-financial outcomes and expected to reach 90% by year end. Substantial achievements included the increased prominence of women boxing, appointment of female promoters, appointment of a woman to a senior management position in BSA, the staging of the SA Boxing Awards and engagement with promoting associations. Payment of R1.3 million that had been outstanding from previous tournaments was obtained and new rules had been introduced and would be more strictly monitored. BSA was looking for its own premises and had appointed its own auditors and it was trying to address SMART performance objectives to counter criticism from the Auditor-General. Indicators for its programmes were outlined, the resolutions from the Seminar on Ring Officials were presented, and a workshop of all promoters was scheduled for 3 and 4 March. The position in relation to its 1 041 licensees was confirmed and it was noted that in future payment for purse money would have to be made fourteen days before any tournament and there would be more stringent controls for compliance. The grievances, discussions, and outcomes of the meetings with the Eastern Cape Promoters Association (ECPA) Executive Committee were described and much headway had been made, although final proposals around the disputed interpretation of the sanctions levies are still to be made, with all parties having agreed to mediation rather than court action. Although the Boxing Indaba resolutions were not implemented insofar as establishment of Provincial Commissions was concerned,  BSA explained that this was partially due to the financial implications, and partially to the need to review regulations, and the Minister had already been approached to assist.

Members were appreciative of the efforts to recognise and promote women in boxing. They urged BSA to deal with all issues raised by the Auditor-General, asked how it intended to collect and enforce the payments by promoters, whether Sijuka Promotions accepted the sanction, what engagements there were with rival factions in the Eastern Cape and all also emphasised the fact that boxing should be broadened outside Buffalo City, and also promoted actively in other provinces. They asked about the earnings being paid net or gross, asked how suspended promoters would be monitored, and urged that the resolutions of the Boxing Indaba must be addressed urgently, and that BSA must urgently address improvement of the facilities and opportunities for training. 

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson thanked the Committee for their support during her recent difficult time.

She noted that SASCOC would not be able to attend the meeting and this was accepted by Members.

South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS): Post Rio Olympics Doping Test Report
Mr Khalid Galant, Chief Executive Officer, SAIDS, and Mr Onke Ngwane, Financial Manager, SAIDS, presented a report on how the SAIDS had prepared Team South Africa for the Olympics and Paralympics games. SAIDS strategy began a year before the games and was focused on testing and anti-doping education of athletes and coaches.

Mr Galant noted that SAIDS had a close working relationship with South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) on qualifiers, with emphasis on the performance of SA athletes in continental levels and international ratings. Other strategies included the testing and education of athletes, coaches and team personnel. Educating team personnel had also become important because of the issue of a Kenyan team person falling foul of the law that had nothing to do with the athletes.

SAIDS also collaborated with foreign counterparts to test SA athletes competing in their countries if they formed part of  Team SA, because SA based athletes are extensively tested. This kind of collaboration helped SAIDS to identify two SA athletes who had tested positive for banned substances leading up to the Olympics, and who were subsequently dropped from the team.

SAIDS was also asked to form part of the International anti-doping task force that helped develop  Olympics and Paralympics testing strategy for all sporting codes. Being one of only four countries chosen to become part of this team, by the International Olympics Committee (IOC), was a mark of recognition and respect given to South Africa by world sporting bodies.

SAIDS also held testing and education training sessions in Kenya and Ethiopia. 650 blood and urine tests were done for the Olympics athletes and 75 for the Paralympics. These numbers are based on the size of teams to the games.

He stressed again that anti-doping education was reliant on partnerships with sporting bodies and SASCOC. Athletes were constantly reminded of their responsibilities and how things have changed, so they do not unknowingly fall foul of International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules. Athletes were also tutored on how to apply for therapeutic use of exemptions, although it discouraged the use of legally banned medications for athletes.

SAIDS also leveraged technology to keep up to date with the ever changing world. SASCOC developed a phone app informing athletes of testing procedures and other education materials. YouTube was also used to convey messages helpful to athletes.

SAIDS had a close working relationship with the Rio Local Organizing Committee (LOC). This led to Deslyn Pather, Senior Doping Control Coordinator, SAIDS, being sent to work for the Rio LOC. Ms Nelisiwe Mtimculu and Mr Kassiem Adams, both Doping Control Officers with SAIDS, were sent through for the Paralympics.

Mr Ngwane then gave a brief feedback on the post audit results from a financial perspective. He stated that SAIDS's biggest area of concern was irregular expenditure, which arose from overspending on budget. SAIDS had put processes in place to deter a recurrence, and this would entail a review of contracts and controlling costs. He noted that, because this was an Olympic year, most of SAIDS expenses occurred within the three month period leading to the games. The objective of SAIDS remained to obtain a clean audit.

Mr D Bergman (DA) wanted feedback on the number of laboratories in SA which were accorded official status, and their capacity. He noted that it had been established that most drugging in sports was not done on purpose but was accidental; for instance an athlete might take a flu medication only to discover it contained banned substances. He asked then what engagements SAIDS had with drug companies to ensure that their packaging and labeling are transparent, so that athletes could be aware that they were not inadvertently taking banned substances. He said that the role that  SAIDS plays in educating athletes is understandable but asked at what age group this education was done and whether SAIDS was visiting the schools.

Ms P Manana (ANC) appreciated the strategy of SAIDS leading up to the Olympic Games in Rio and said that it was obviously working in that two South African athletes, Victor Hogan (Athletics) and Rourke Crouser (Cycling) were detected as having used banned substances before they could participate in the Games.

Mr M Ralegoma (ANC) also appreciated the update and suggested that the action plan should be holistically viewed. He was happy to learn that South Africa's own testing centre problems were resolved, but wanted to know why South Africa continued to have issues relating to sports medicines and banned supplements being used by athletes.

The Chairperson suggested that Members' questions should be focused on the post-doping results. She asked how SAIDS, in relation to athletes education programmes, had addressed any problems of gaining access to schools, and how the Committee might assist.

Mr Galant thanked the Chairperson and Members for acknowledging the strategy leading up to the Games. He apologised not having mentioned issues around the laboratories, which had been a key part of the SAIDS strategy and financial planning. The analysis of testing done had to be sent to Doha in Qatar, but the subsequent suspension of that laboratory by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) led SAIDS now sending samples to Europe and the US, which had had huge financial implications. WADA is currently in Bloemfontein, inspecting the laboratory there, and its ruling is expected in early March. SAIDS is encouraging the Committee to invite the Bloemfontein laboratories to present themselves to the Committee to explain how they plan to maintain accreditation, should they be inducted and their turn around strategy. He conceded that this was quite an arduous process because currently there are only 29 WADA-accredited laboratories in the world. The laboratories involve specialised skills and do not bring in huge amount of revenue, and they are mostly purposely used for research. South Africa had had an accredited laboratory since 1996 and was the only country on the Continent with an accredited lab up until last year.

Mr Galant then addressed the questions around accidental doping. It was difficult to comment on those athletes who claimed that they had accidentally doped since 1999, because even when the substance was intentionally injected, athletes will still claim it was accidental.

With regards to the schools programmes, he said that access will totally depend on the collaboration with the different sporting codes and federations. SAIDS had held extensive anti-doping education with athletics, swimming, rugby, and now with boxing within the last six months, although SAIDS acknowledged that it could still do more. It had recently joined forces with SA rugby legends, using them in the schools training sessions and we, and was hoping to replicate this also with other sports.

Mr Galant noted that there was engagement with the pharmaceutical industry, since SAIDS had a database available on its website where every new drug allowed into the country, that athletes are allowed to take, will be registered. Speaking to how athletes still managed to take some medication, he explained that even though they may be banned for sporting purposes, medicines are not banned for the broader community. For instance, supplements like EPO and steroids do have legitimate medical therapeutic roles to play. EPO is traditionally prescribed for people diagnosed with leukaemia and post-cancer treatments, and so are steroids. Substances may be primarily intended for people with muscular pains, muscle wasting and the like, but they have been found to give athletes undue advantage. He added that any medicine, when used for non-medical purposes, can be dangerous to a person’s health.

He added that sports supplements remain a challenge because some of them do contain banned substances. Many drug companies list the ingredients and also warn athletes not to take them. South Africa has two major retailers who have large stamps displayed on their products warning athletes, but unfortunately some athletes are still willing to push the envelope.

In regard to the schools, and testing in schools, he noted that SAIDS, with the cooperation with Department of Basic Education (DBE), had made progress. However, its footprint is still not as widespread as SAIDS would like because it had a footprint in only 150 schools out of the 75 000 high schools across the country. However, SAIDS had a good working relationship with the DBE, and in fact would be meeting with the new DBE schools management this week. Because of many retirements in that directorate, there was an issue of handover of knowledge and transition to be sorted out. Cooperation is ongoing, and SAIDS recently provided the DBE with content that is to be integrated into the Life Orientation curriculum. At schools level, the emphasis is not on banned substances, but on sports ethics. The use of “retired heroes” resonates with learners, no matter what sporting code, and it was desirable to train these people as education officers. SAIDS also wanted to deliver the education sessions in all SA languages, although it was presently being done in four languages of English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu.

Boxing South Africa Third Quarter 2016 report, including update on Eastern Cape Promoters
Mr Tsholo Lejaka, Chief Executive Officer, Boxing South Africa, presented the third quarter report and an update on the Eastern Cape Promoters Organisation.

Speaking to the report, he briefly explained that Boxing SA (BSA) had achieved 65% of its non financial outcomes by December of 2016. Women boxing had returned to more prominence, female promoters had been appointed and the staging of South African Boxing Awards was successful. More work lay ahead by making sure that boxing is spread to all the provinces and was not rooted in Eastern Cape alone, as it is at the moment.

BSA would be concentrating on enhancing governance in the fourth quarter and hoped to achieve 18  of the 20 pre-determined objectives, or 90% of all targets, by the end of the financial year. The areas of under-achievement area were likely to be number of licensees to be trained, and number of tournaments to be sanctioned. 

Some of the highlights were outlined – including payment of R1.3 million that had been outstanding from two tournaments, conclusion of the disciplinary process against Sijuta Promotions, and engagements with the Eastern Cape Promoters Association, after they had complained to the Portfolio Committee. A seminar for all BSA Ring Officials was held in November 2016, and the SA Boxing Awards took place in December 2016, as a jointly hosted event during the Boxing is Back programme, in partnership with SRSA and KwaZulu Natal provincial department.   .

Four female promoters were appointed to host four tournaments of Women in Boxing Programme. Internal Audit Services from the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA) were withdrawn, and A2AA Kopano Auditors were appointed. BSA was now starting to look for its own premises as it had been sharing with SRSA until now. 

BSA had been criticised by the Auditor-General for not having SMART performance objectives and it was trying to deal with this for the following year.

The various indicators for the programmes were then outlined (see attached presentation for full details). In Programme 1, the fruits of efforts would mostly be seen in the next quarter. Programme 2 dealt with boxing development and most of the work was focused on licensees, with 87.5% of indicators having been met. In Programme 3, strategic documents had been drafted but again the results were likely to be seen in the fourth quarter. Speaking to the staffing, he noted that the position of Director: Operations had been vacant for some time, and although an offer was made, the candidate did not take up the post, having received a counter-offer from his current employer. A new candidate was appointed in December 2016. The vacancy level was now 15%. The first female Senior Manager has been appointed.

During the 16 Days of Activism, BSA invited female promoters to bid for financial assistance to host female tournaments, and a summary of the tournaments arranged was tabled (see attached presentation). Resolutions from the Seminar on Ring Officials were also presented. A workshop of all promoters would now take place on 3 and 4 March in Johannesburg. This will discuss the status quo, present the promoters' perspective, reinforce awareness of the Boxing Act, emphasise a responsive, inclusive, equitable and commercially viable broadcast rights framework for boxing, and share best practices.

BSA currently has 1041 licensees whose licenses will expire on 31 March 2017. It has encouraged all to renew their licences on time, failing which they will lose their status, and BSA intends to strengthen its enforcements and sanction committee applications. Payment for purse money has to be made fourteen days before the tournament.

He then described the meetings with the Eastern Cape Promoters Association (ECPA) Executive Committee – one in November 2016 and the second on 20 January 2017. Much headway was made to clarify the rules of engagement. Some matters could be clarified on the spot; others were agreed as being matters of national competence to be discussed elsewhere. ECPA proposed that licensing of boxers must not be deadline driven. It raised challenges in renewal, but BSA asked that these must be escalated so that they could be dealt with on time. BSA confirmed that there is provision for special consideration of any license application by the Board provided that reasons for it are compelling and unavoidable. ECPA also submitted that they would like to see the recruitment process of new promoters stratified and transparent and  will submit a proposal for consideration by BSA. Although the ECPA cited problems with Boxing is Back and TV coverage it did not raise any special issues, although the BSA was aware of similar concerns in the Nelson Mandela Region. A framework between BSA and SABC will be presented at the national workshop. ECPA said that the Boxing Indaba resolutions were not implemented insofar as establishment of Provincial Commissions was concerned. However, BSA holds the view that because of the wide financial implications, this is unaffordable at present. The Minister will be approached to review the regulations.

Finally, he spoke to the difference in interpretation of the sanction levies; ECPA maintained its interpretation, but it was agreed that each of the parties will submit a legal opinion. Whatever the verdict of the conciliation process on the interpretations, both parties agreed to try to avoid taking the matter to court.  Both sides agreed that it is something that needs to be fast tracked to try to find a solution.

A challenge remained that many boxers are still without equipment and seem to be caught in the crossfire in the fight by promoters. More needs to be done to make boxing an attractive sport for the South African youth.

Mr M Ntshayisa (AIC) was appreciative that women in boxing is finally recognized because of women empowerment and opportunities it presents. The problem was how BSA intend to collect monies owed to them by boxing promoters.

Mr G Moteka (EFF) urged BSA to deal with the issues raised by the Auditor-General (AG). He asked whether Sijuka Promotions accepted the sanction meted out to  them or was considering challenging BSA in court. He also wanted to know more about the outcome of BSA’s engagements in the Eastern Cape, if the crisis was now resolved, and what happened on the rival illegal association; he asked if they had all been brought under one organisation. He too complained that boxing was mostly restricted, in Eastern Cape, to Buffalo City. He encouraged BSA to ensure the spread of the sport to other provinces. Clarification was sought on the dispute between BSA and promoters in respect of promoters paying only the net and not gross of the earnings in BSA sanctioned fights and he asked for more information on the efforts made to recoup what promoters owe.

Ms L Abrahams (ANC) wanted to know the mechanisms BSA has in place to monitor suspended promoters. She was appreciative of the efforts to promote women in boxing and expressed her pride with the achievements of Melissa Muller from Eldorado Park, who is fully participating in the sixteen days of activism against women and children.

Ms P Manana (ANC) thanked BSA for extending invitations to the Committee Members to attend SA Boxing Sports Awards. She praised BSA for its intervention in the Eastern Cape to deal with the warring boxing association factions and its help in preventing a deterioration of the situation. She noted that although most of the Quarter 3 targets were achieved, the resolutions of  23 September 2013 have not been implemented. She urged that BSA should not do such extensive research but should concentrate on achieving implementation. She reminded BSA that it had promised to convene a meeting jointly with  provincial MECs and DBE, to roll out boxing in schools, and was concerned that promoters are exploiting that gap and going into schools on their own where they are being very well received. She cited the example of her own home municipality, where boxing tournaments are now held with the assistance of MECs. She also reminded BSA that boxers  are still operating without equipment in many schools.

Mr M Ralegoma (ANC) said the the issue of the Provincial Commissions must be dealt with and also reminded BSA that boxing should not only be concentrated in only a few provinces of SA. He did appreciate their engagement with the boxing fraternity in the Eastern Cape, which he said was “the home of boxing in SA” and urged it to maintain the good work done.

Mr S Mabika (NFP) also appreciated BSA presentation and progress made in boxing though more still needs to be done. He mentioned that he had been present at the Boxing Awards and was impressed. However, he too expressed concern that boxing is still mostly developing in the Eastern Cape and not in other provinces and that challenged BSA to bridge the gap. He emphasised that the young boy who had been awarded the most promising boxer award had said that he had no place to train. His gym had broken windows, and he could only train during the day. BSA had to help realise the full potential of SA boxing champions.

The Chairperson also appreciated the efforts of BSA saying that a few years ago, boxing was collapsing in SA. The Committee may have been hard on the organisation, but it was done in good faith. She stressed that BSA must ensure that the fight between the two associations in the Eastern Cape is not affecting the boxers, so she hoped that the ongoing dispute had been settled. The Chairperson also wanted to know if there was a budget in BSA to assist boxers with protective gear. She too encouraged BSA to keep up the good work and try to meet all targets.

Ms Cindy Nkomo, Director of Operations, BSA, emphasised the need to work together for the provision of facilities, saying that this was a challenge facing every sport in SA, not limited to only boxing. Most boxing talents come from poor homes, and do suffer from limited training facilities. She reminded the Committee that BSA is only a regulator and as such cannot provide facilities. BSA is also aware of the collaboration between DBE and the municipalities  towards addressing the issue. Working together will ensure that monies are secured, given to the right people and utilised for the intended purpose.

Ms Nkomo said that there were numerous resolutions from the 2013 Boxing Indaba, and there are areas that are applicable to BSA, but others that apply to South African National Boxing Organisation(SANABO). She suggested that in relation to the question regarding schools boxing, SANABO should be invited by the Committee to answer. However, BSA is aware that SANABO is active as they just recently launched a community boxing league which is sure to advance boxing popularity and address the provision of equipment. BSA, for its part, has implemented most of those Indaba resolution. The Award is part of the resolution, and so is women in boxing. Setting up of provincial commissions is also part of the resolution, but as mentioned, BSA had discussed them with the Eastern Cape promoters and will speed up  engagements with the Department of Sports and Recreation because in order to be able to set up those commissions, the regulations have to be looked into and any changes will have to be approved by SRSA. This is a priority for BSA.

Mr Thabang Moses, Chief Financial Officer, BSA, acknowledged that BSA had finalised an action plan to deal with issues raised by the AG. It was discovered that a lot of rules had to be changed – for example, the procurement of accommodation. BSA had to check, for instance, whether it was advertised correctly. This resulted in a delay. In relation to office relocation, BSA had already advertised since October last year. It took 21 days but because of objections raised by those who had tendered, there were then another 21 days added. In all tender processes the tender committee had to sit and ensure that all loopholes are closed and charter followed. All of these  caused delays because BSA was trying to avoid irregular expenditure.

Ms Nkomo explained that promoters were not paying as they used to pay before, because they had for a time used the advantage of administrative weaknesses at that time. BSA were unable to follow up with them to collect debts. Now that BSA has systems in place, the promoters are creating problems because they were not used to BSA hounding them, as it was doing now. This was not common to every promoter; some had been paying all along and were continuing to do so.

Mr Lejaka confirmed that in the final result, Sijuta Promotions had accepted the disciplinary committee sanctions. This promoter was charged in October, and when the process started he had issues of the logistics of arriving in Gauteng. BSA then took the decision to fly the promoter in to ensure attendance. The hearing was on 15 December. BSA believed that the sanction handed down was too lenient, and he  should have received a harsher sanction. There had been a long drawn battle where the promoter tried to tell BSA that it knew nothing about boxing and he should educate BSA. However, the prosecutor had built a strong case and that was why he eventually pleaded guilty. The disciplinary committee gave him thirty days to pay but he said he needed sixty days, which was till 15 February, to pay or face suspension. On 13 February he then approached BSA pleading for leniency, saying he was willing to pay but has no money and wanted an extension. Ten days was granted, in the rules, for an appeal, which he had not done, but he had accepted liability.

Mr Lejaka spoke to the parallel association in the Eastern Cape, and said that in the Eastern Cape, there are between 24 and 26 promoters. At the AGM meeting, though that number cannot be confirmed, it appeared that now the majority of the promoters were represented in two executives associations. Members from both executives were elected to serve in this one encompassing executive. After this meeting, one promoter was unhappy because he said that even the so called executives from his faction that were elected had no mandate from him to stand for any position, meaning his own faction does not recognize the meeting’s outcome. However, since the majority of the promoters in the province had come together and elected a democratic body to represent them, BSA recognised this democratic decision, even though they are yet to comply with all the requirements according to the Act, such as having a constitution.

He noted that BSA also does not presently have the capacity to determine gross earnings from a promoters earnings and the ten percent on net is still the best formula, because it is clean and cannot be manipulated.

The meeting was adjourned.


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