Boxing SA & SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan; with Ministry

Sport, Arts and Culture

19 April 2023
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video (Part 1)

Video (Part 2)

Boxing SA

SA Institute for Drug-free Sport

In the virtual meeting, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) provided an overview of both Boxing South Africa (BSA) and the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport. Thereafter these two bodies presented their 2023/24 Annual Performance Plans. The clean audit by SAIDS was noted. The progress and timeline for the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport Amendment Bill to be submitted to Parliament was discussed as the deadline given by the World Anti-Doping Agency for promulgation is May 2024. The meeting also discussed the out-of-court settlement that BSA is currently exploring with its former CEO as well as the impact that big events such as the 2024 Olympics in Paris has on doping for athletes.

Meeting report

[First 30 minutes of this meeting was not recorded due to loadshedding connectivity issue]
DSAC provided an overview of Boxing SA and Acting CEO, Mr Erick Sithole, set out Boxing SA's roadmap for 2023. The five programmes aim for the development of boxing from grassroots up to when professionals decide to retire (see presentations).

Ms V Malomane (ANC) asked if an MOU had been signed by Boxing South Africa (BSA) and SAIDS and if so, how it was being implemented. She asked about the state of safeguarding in boxing and if there had been any reported incidents of sexual abuse in the past five years. Her other concern was the number of practitioners being trained and the number of licences being issued.

The Chairperson expressed her wish for meetings to take place in person due to the number of disruptions the attendees were experiencing due to loadshedding. She apologised for this.

The Chairperson raised the litigation by BSA which had been overtaken by the problem of court costs. She acknowledged that she is not permitted to discuss this any further. However, one cannot afford such a process and BSA is having to fund all the lawyers costs for the duration. She encouraged the Department to sit down with BSA to give a report on this. She was impressed by the presentation from the CEO and urged BSA to approach the Committee for assistance if needed.

The Chairperson asked if BSA could check in on former boxers who are still young and noted the problems many communities face where it is imperative for young school children to do a sport. She asked the Minister if he would be prepared to support the proposal for amateur boxing in schools as the South African National Boxing Organisation (SANABO) may not have the funds to support such a project. During an oversight visit they discovered women in one province did not have equipment and this was delivered on behalf of the Committee. The Chairperson hopes that come December, BSA will fulfil what they want to do and that BSA will achieve all the structures they want to put in place.

Ms V van Dyk (DA) asked if the World Boxing Federation offers an opportunity for future financial support for local boxing due to the financial constraints BSA is experiencing. She made reference to 2017 when a German automobile manufacturer donated equipment to the Western Cape Boxing Gym in Khayelitsha. She asked if BSA has increased expenditure in its boxing promotion programme as the sport still fails to gain sponsors. She asked if the promotion strategy has worked. Has the MOU between BSA and SAIDS been signed?

Ms van Dyk asked how much BSA has been investing in women in boxing in the 2023/24 financial year. What is the state of safeguarding in boxing and have there been any reports of sexual abuse. What has BSA done about safeguarding?

Mr J Mamabolo (ANC) said that some parents do not allow their children to be tested for drugs. He asked how SAIDS and BSA will prepare for the 2024 Olympics if the parents do not allow this procedure to take place because it is a well-known fact that many athletes are prepared to go to extremes to qualify to compete. He asked for the current statistics on drug testing and if it was on an increase or a decline. Is boxing being promoted at schools? He noted the lack of broadcasting of the sport except for SABC 2. What is BSA’s plan to increase broadcasting? Do they plan on bringing SuperSport on board?

Mr Mamabolo enquired about the out-of-court settlement that BSA is currently facing with the former dismissed CEO and asked for an update on this matter.

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) followed up and asked what the expected time is for this out-of-court settlement to be concluded. He acknowledged that the Acting CEO is doing a good job so far. He expressed his concern about the lack of diversity at BSA and if they intend to address this. He stated the importance of electing a permanent CEO.

Mr Mhlongo enquired about the percentage of council attendance in the presentation and asked what 90% attendance was referring to. Lastly, he asked about the promotion of women in sports.

Mr M Zondi (ANC) commended the BSA unqualified audit report but expressed concern for the highlighted irregular expenditure. He also expressed concern that the boxing industry was male dominated and asked what BSA was doing to make the industry conducive for female leadership and management. If BSA has not started this process yet, he urged them to do so.

Mr Zondi stated that the Committee supports the out-of-court settlement because it will bring much needed stability to the organisation. This stability will allow them to tackle other problems and end the costs incurred in litigation. He asked about the plans to hold and partake in international tournaments as this would certainly bring sponsorships.

Ms R Adams (ANC) asked if the current term for the BSA board had been extended and how far the process was in appointing a new board. She also enquired about the state of drug cheating in South African sport. [Ms Adams lost connection and the Chair said she could submit questions in writing].

Mr C Sibisi (NFP) commented on the lack of infrastructure funding to BSA for their operations because it is leasing a building. Funds are typically allocated for maintenance; however, in the case of this lease, maintenance is usually covered in the lease agreement. He noted the irregular expenditure and how a quotation for R50 000 of goods has not been presented yet. There were fluctuations in irregular expenditure from R1.1 million in 2019/20 to R5 million in 2020/21; then back down to R1.15 million in 2021/22. Consequence management was not being implemented against those responsible for the irregular expenditure.

Mr Sibisi asked DSAC what it was doing to assist BSA to improve its audit action plan that is submitted on a quarterly basis.

BSA response
Mr Sithole replied that the council meeting attendance rate was referring to the average number of members that attended the meetings annually. At a minimum six members are required to attend the meetings. This information can be extracted and provided to the Committee. As for diversity, there was one female on the board but she subsequently resigned and they were unable to fill the position with another woman. However, this matter will be properly addressed when the new board is constituted.

DSAC response
DDG Sumayya Khan (DSAC) replied about women in boxing that the Department has financed funding in the conditional grant so that each province receives R350 000 to ensure the inclusion of two women’s bouts in any tournament staged in the province.

Ms Khan explained that boxing is not a priority in schools because the Department of Basic Education legislation prevents any combat sports from taking place in schools. However, DSAC is currently running a pilot project (‘Sports Ambassadors Programme’) that has introduced amateur boxing at a school level. Many retired boxers run their own programmes. DSAC has sought the assistance of Thulani Malinga, Vuyani Bungu, Irvin Buhlalu, Phillip N’Dou, Cassius Baloyi and Nika Kumalo to run the Sports Ambassadors Programme in Gauteng and other provinces. These former boxers have also been involved in other projects for the Department such as youth camps and school sport championships.

Minister’s remarks
Minister Zizi Kodwa noted how exciting it was that boxing was becoming one of the popular sporting codes in South Africa, particularly in areas such as the Free State, KZN and the Eastern Cape – the boxing mecca of South Africa being in and around East London. He also stated how exciting it is to be working with former boxers in the pilot programme. Minister Kodwa went on to address the lack of sponsorships for BSA and how there are little to no sponsors around our mecca of boxing. He noted that international tournaments need to be promoted more because the hosting of such tournaments does not just bring revenue, but it also attracts sports tourism to South Africa. He noted how imperative it is that BSA supports the women’s tournament held in Gqeberha.

BSA response
Mr Luthando Jack, BSA Chairman, indicated that a new CFO had been appointed due to irregular expenditure and other audit findings and that these matters are still being attended to. As for the internal audit of BSA, this exists but they are working on a new structure that will be presented to the board. The challenge is that there was only one person for the internal audit department and only one person for the HR department, and so on. BSA is in the process of appointing a finance manager which will be covered in the new structure.

As for funeral cover, this must be paid 12 months in advance and considering that boxers only have three to four fights per year, these premiums need to be paid when the boxers retrieve their licences. He hopes DSAC could help the boxers subsidise medical cover. He explained that BSA is actively trying to protect boxers from exploitation from managers and thus this new structure is vital. The estimated timeframe for this new structure is June 2023.

The training of officials is currently underway in Gauteng, Limpopo, North West and Northern Cape – statistics will be provided once there is more information.

The MOU between BSA and SANABO was attended to last year. A fundamental principle being implemented by this MOU is that all boxers wishing to pursue boxing professionally require a Green Record Book from SANABO to do so. As for the broadcasting fees in the MOU, BSA and SABC are required to source sponsors for this MOU to be successful.

Mr Jack noted that the roadshows cost approximately R200 000 from June 2021 to March 2022.

Mr Sakhiwe Sodo, BSA Board member, affirmed that the board is ruthless in implementing the rules dealing with ill-discipline. The board has only ever revoked a licence due to disciplinary-related matters. The protection of young boxers from physical harm both inside and outside of the ring is a key element when dealing with the protection of the boxers and BSA takes this very seriously.

 Mr Sodo explained that professional boxing is highly regulated and there is a need to be transparent. Boxers sign contracts before they fight in which they agree to the terms, including how much they earn for the fights. Boxers have representatives and managers who negotiate on their behalf. Thus the boxers are the persons paying their managers, which is typically 10% of the boxer’s fight earnings.

The purpose of the sanctioning committee is to protect boxers from physical harm to ensure that boxer A fighting boxer B are in the same category in terms of experience, number of fights fought and calibre to reduce the risk of harm encountered by boxers in the ring. There are several reasons the MOU was entered into with SANABO. One of these is to ensure that they conduct a similar transition for open rank boxers to the professional ranks. SANABO invests a lot of money in these boxers to develop them to be future gold medallists and thus it is important that the graduation ceremony is handled in a way that SANABO is represented. The relationship between BSA and SANABO has never been stronger, and this ensures the growth and quality of boxers from the open boxing category.

Dr Shadrack Nthangeni, Boxing SA Board member, addressed women-in-boxing and said that the women’s licensee numbers are increasing exponentially. In 2020/21 they were sitting near 75, in 2021/22 there were 84 licensees and in 2022/23 there were 123 licenses.

A policy on sexual harassment is being finalised in alignment with the safeguarding policy. This policy is currently being reviewed by the legal department. During the current board term of office, there have been no cases of sexual harassment presented to the women-in-boxing committee.

Mr Jack explained that the 2024 Olympics preparations fell within SANABO’s scope and is thus SANABO’s responsibility; however, the MOU helps navigate this framework. There were currently no statistics on drug tests at hand and that SAIDS was the authority that dealt with this. He requested that the BSA Acting CEO officially request the information from SAIDS and submit it to the Portfolio Committee.

Mr Jack explained that the current BSA board term had not yet expired and was due to expire in December 2023. He shared the concerns of the Portfolio Committee that the board was male dominated. As a consequence the board requested that management ensure the replacement for the finance manager be female. There was hope that the CFO would be female but when it came down to the interviews, the male candidate performed better.

As for the litigation matter, this dates back to 2014 when the former CEO was suspended and in 2015, he took the matter to CCMA. In 2018 the CCMA found in his favour and asked for his reinstatement. The board decided to appeal the matter in the Labour Court and in 2022 the Labour Court dismissed the appeal. When the new BSA board took office in 2022, they asked for legal advice from two different sources and both suggested they pursue the matter within the courts. However, upon assessment of prospective reputational damages, they decided to pursue a settlement out of court.

Mr Madlingozi commented that boxing is highly commercialised and wondered how BSA ensured they were exempt from money-laundering tactics.

DSAC overview on SAIDS
Mr Sibusiso Tsanyane DSAC Deputy Director: Entity Oversight and Interface, explained SAIDS was established in terms of the SAIDS Act of 1997 with the mandate to promote the participation in sport free from use of prohibited substances or methods intended to artificially enhance performance thereby rendering impermissible doping practices which are contrary to the principles of fair play and medical ethics in the interest of health and well being of sports persons. SAIDS also provides for the technical obligations for the country to UNESCO, WADA and the African Union.

In 2019/20 SAIDS achieved 65% of its targets, in 2020/21 it achieved 52% due to the difficulties of COVID-19 lockdown and in 2021/22 it achieved 82%.

Its financial allocation in 2021/22 was R28.123 million; 2022/23 was R29.171 million and 2023/24 is R29.781 million. SAIDS has consistently obtained an unqualified audit with no findings.

The Minister had appointed a new board with 10 members in 2022 and this board would expire in 2027. This board is fully constituted and contains a mix of males and females as well as racial representation.

The oversight activities in terms of the number of board and council meetings from 2019 to 2022 and the attendance rate for each meeting were presented.

The executive management were identified and each of them works in a permanent capacity. The composition of staff consists of 17 members – nine female and eight males. Of this, there are six black, nine coloured, one Indian and one white.

Mr Tsanyane stated that SAIDS would discuss the amendment of the SAIDS Act which was found not to be in alignment with the WADA code. Amendment consultations have been kickstarted by SAIDS and an update will be provided by SAIDS.

SAIDS Annual Report
Dr Ephraim Nematswerani, SAIDS Board Chairperson, said that the Annual Performance Plan (APP) was the operational iteration of the SAIDS strategic plan. The current board members had only been in office four months since their appointment in December 2022. The current strategy plan is still relevant and the board will ensure that the strategy direction is continued and maintained. The board will present a new strategic plan in mid-2023 and it will be evaluated against current demands in sport due to a very congested calendar in 2023. This strategic plan will be evaluated against global trends.

Dr Nematswerani congratulated Mr Galant for recently being elected to the 10-member World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The SAIDS presentation would be presented by CEO Galant and CFO Mr Onke Ngwane – a chartered accountant by profession.

Mr Khalid Galant, SAIDS CEO, explained that the APP is developed in the context of different risk areas and SAIDS is always looking to adjust it to make the APP in line with the strategic plan but also the different alterations for area of improvement. The performance is measured against the budget and thus this becomes the primary task of the audit and risk Committees.

The grant received from National Treasury is below the inflation rate which places pressure on SAIDS service delivery. Therefore, they are looking at trimming the programmes and sourcing other forms of funding. Due to lockdown, SAIDS has been able to leverage operational efficiencies through online learning and they will continue to do so to achieve operational efficiencies.

Mr Galant stated that the Lottery funding application will be submitted in the first week of May which will address a large part of the education programme that will be rolled out nationally. SAIDS will partner with different federations to roll out that programme and they will tag along on BSA’s road shows to provinces to provide education and outreach programmes.

SAIDS as a regulatory agency operates in a high compliance environment at a national and international level and they spend a considerable amount of their budget on ensuring that good compliance helps with SAIDS credibility and the confidence in the sporting environment. SAIDS has been deemed operationally compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code in all its different formats since 2003 with the latest amendments in 2021.

SAIDS is also implementing the UNESCO Convention against Doping in Sport of which the South African government is a signatory and it is vital to implement these programmes for South Africa to remain compliant with this convention. In many doping cases, SAIDS operational processes do come into question by athletes. However, no athlete has been successful in challenging or disputing SAIDS operational process and had the case overturned.

The DSAC grant is below inflation but this seems to be the case for all government grants and SAIDS maintains a good relationship with DSAC. Due to these constraints, SAIDS is looking at other sources of funding.

Mr Galant said that the 2005 amendment of the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport Act of 1997 was purely of a technical nature. SAIDS has received a warning from WADA in November 2022 about the SAIDS legislation. This legislation pre-dates WADA as SAIDS itself was established before WADA. SAIDS is required to amend and change its legislation to prevent the risk of non-compliance. He referred to Gaborone which was declared non-compliant due to its legislation not being in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC). The risk of South Africa not complying with this would affect international participation, which would ultimately mean South Africa could not compete internationally under the national flag, but rather a neutral flag. Fortunately, South Africa has until May 2024 to correct this non-compliance.

SAIDS is a non-governmental entity so they do not have the authority to push through legislation. Thus the correct channel will be that they submit the draft legislation to the Department which will then take it through the legislative process to the Parliament and then promulgation. SAIDS hopes this will be finalised by the end of 2023. Once the final draft is sent to government, the next phase entails an economic impact assessment of the legislation, but this can only be assessed after consultation.

Mr Galant provided a brief overview of the draft legislation, noting that the Portfolio Committee chairperson was in support of the first consultation meeting in December. The legislation intends to solve where SAIDS is non-compliant with the WADC. This in turn establishes independence for integrity by addressing safeguarding in sport not from a policy perspective but from an investigative and adjudication perspective. The key theme in this legislation is to maintain the integrity of sport, provide a singular regulatory framework for athletes, promote health, ethics, fair play, anti-doping and safeguarding measures of sportspersons.

Mr Onke Ngwane (CFO: SAIDS) explained that SAIDS is primarily funded by the grant from DSAC and in the upcoming year they are expecting R28.9 million from the DSAC. From this grant, the key budgetary areas are administration and financial compliance. Due to the increasing cost of audits and quality assurance, it places pressure on SAIDS to finance these necessities without the increase in the grant. Further, South Africa does not manufacture its own test kits and this exposes SAIDS to foreign exchange rate fluctuations, expensive shipping costs and outrageous custom clearing costs. For example, SAIDS recently had to spend R800 000 for customs on a delivery shipment of testing kits.

On result management, the cost is driven by the doping cases heard by the panel which is in turn driven by the number of anti-doping violations experienced. This is difficult to control because it depends on whether athletes test positive for these substances.

SAIDS has created a legal defence fund using surplus funds generated in the past to defer any unexpected legal costs, for instance, in the event that a case is taken to the European Court of Human Rights. That court is in foreign currency and thus this could become expensive.

The education initiative leverages the use of technology to optimise and improve delivery and minimise costs. Tribunal members are trained annually to optimise their service delivery and at SAIDS they attempt to minimise spending on international travel.

On the projected income from sales, sport has resumed full swing post-pandemic which has increased the demand for testing services by various federations, as well as the lead up to the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics. Projected sales are approximately R2 million but SAIDS wanted to refrain from counting their chickens before the eggs have hatched.

Ms Malomane asked if the SAIDS 2023/24 APP has taken into account that the 2024 Olympics is just around the corner, and this typically leads to an increase in athletes participating in doping activities to qualify to compete. She asked if there had been adherence to the anti-doping education and what impact this has had on athletes over the past five years.

Mr Zondi enquired about the number of doping appeals made by athletes found guilty of taking banned substances in the past financial year and if SAIDS had the financial means to take these cases on.

Mr Joseph (DA) congratulated the good oversight management and meeting attendance rate. He asked the Department to monitor the SAIDS Amendment Bill to align it with WADA to ensure it is done before the end of the year. He encouraged SAIDS to submit that Amendment Bill soonest. He congratulated Mr Galant on achieving recognition on the world stage.

For events such as the Two Oceans and the Comrades Marathon, Mr Joseph asked how SAIDS manages such large events with thousands of athletes. He asked about pre-planning for these and if SAIDS receives cooperation from the sporting institutes.

Mr Joseph asked about the trimming of SAIDS programmes and which programmes will be affected. What impact will a Lottery application award have on the programmes? He pointed out the emerging risk for the May 2024 WADA deadline and asked that the Department monitor SAIDS compliance with the date given as well as for the SAIDS audit committee. He asked about the kind of sales the CFO referred to when discussing income.

Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) asked for SAIDS’ take on the Caster Semenya situation as well as their stance on traditional medicine used in sports.

DSAC response
Acting Director General Dr Cynthia Khumalo indicated that consultation processes are currently being undertaken on the draft SAIDS Amendment Bill. DDG Khan will discuss the matter of Caster Semenya’s plight.

Ms Sumayya Khan, DSAC DDG, replied that there is a small task team of legal advisors who have studied ethics and integrity in sports, and DSAC is receiving their assistance. The Department had done a lot of work for the Caster case, engaging with the South African Human Rights Commission, Gender Equity Commission and the media. Each party unanimously supported the fight against this matter. Caster had lost her case which lead to her being unable to defend her 800-meter title. She had filed an appeal in the European Court of Human Rights

However in March 2023 the testosterone level was reduced from 5 to 2.5 nmol/L of blood by World Athletics to be eligible to participate in female track events. Athletics SA is still waiting for the European Court to rule on this matter but with these new regulations, hopefully this will be soon.

DDG Khan said the Department has provided financial support to Caster’s lawyers and the Athletics SA lawyers as well as any further support that could be provided by government. It is also taking it up with the African Union Sports Council Region 5 for discussion and resolution.

SAIDS response
Mr Ngwane replied that the sales are the services provided to sport federations. The SAIDS APP takes into account the big events and the budget also takes these events into account.

Mr Galant noted the concern expressed about the increased doping risk in the run up to major games. There is a doping risk because the stakes are higher. However, the annual doping risk analysis for all sports codes takes into consideration the global sports calendar. The athletes selected in the registered testing pool who will potentially qualify for world championships receive extra attention for the testing of blood and urine samples.

Mr Galant replied about the impact of anti-doping education saying the benefit of this education is the increased literacy about anti-doping management. In fact, South Africa is one of the top ten e-learning countries in the global sports environment.

So far no athlete has had a successful appeal in the past year since they have been in favour of SAIDS. There was one specific incident of a Lesotho athlete caught doping in South Africa which has been carrying on for three years due to issues with jurisdiction.

If the Lottery grant application is successful, Mr Galant estimated it would generate approximately R10 – 12 million over a three-year period which would be used to fund the education programmes where they not only focus on PowerPoint formats but other innovations in both urban and rural settings where messages can better resonate with different target audiences.

Mr Galant explained that SAIDS has always supported Caster Semenya and provided technical support and information to her legal team and remained available to support her and her legal team with any information or technical expertise they may require from SAIDS. With that said, her case is not a doping matter. World Athletics has turned it into a selection matter and thus SAIDS has no policy jurisdiction on this matter to advise either Athletics SA or Caster Semenya.

As for traditional medicine, Mr Galant said he often faces this question because athletes, particularly football players and boxers use traditional medicine. This is risky because it poses the same risk as supplements from unregulated markets but there is education to make athletes aware of this. In terms of cheating in South Africa, unfortunately this has not decreased but rather hit a plateau which is still high compared to the international circuit. The biggest transgressors for this are bodybuilding and rugby, particularly junior rugby under the age of 21, and track athletics. SAIDS has received cooperation from law enforcement, specifically the Hawks, when they have caught athletes with illicit drugs.

Mr Galant explained that SAIDS does not go after these end users but they do have a very good working relationship with the Hawks and partner with them on various raids around steroids. This year, there have been three successful raids on steroid trafficking and manufacturing. This criminal activity does not ever really stop and thus it is a constant investigation. There is a cyber crime project registered with the Hawks to investigate the trail of steroids through the internet going to underage athletes.

SAIDS not only partners with the Hawks but also with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and they managed to slap two doctors in 2021 with fines of R50 000 and sanctions for negligent advice and treatment of athletes who tested positive.

The meeting concluded.

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