Boxing South Africa Annual Report: briefing

Sports, Arts and Culture

03 November 2004
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041103pcsport

SPORTS AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
3 November 2004
BOXING SOUTH AFRICA ANNUAL REPORT: BRIEFING


Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)

Documents handed out:
South Africa Boxing Academy 2004 Training and Development Programme
Boxing Bulletin October 2004
Boxing Regulations
Boxing South Africa's (BSA) presentation
Boxing South Africa's (BSA) Annual Report

SUMMARY
Boxing South Africa (BSA) presented their Annual Report to the Committee. It turned out that the report was about one year overdue, as the Auditor-General was finding it difficult to consolidate BSA's latest accounts since the amalgamation of ten provincial associations into one national association. Members were concerned that the number of white professional boxers had dropped substantially, allegedly due to racist attitudes to black administrators; consultants being paid massive amounts; television broadcast times and the responsibility for organising boxing tournaments.

MINUTES

Boxing South Africa briefing
Dr Peter Ngatane, a board member of Boxing South Africa (BSA), presented the bulk of the Annual Report to the Committee. Mr Krish Naidoo, General Manager, concluded the presentation. Dr Ngatane began with the transformation agenda and how this would be implemented. He went onto discuss the 19 challenges they faced that were set by the Minister of Sport; how the structure of the provincial commissions had changed to empower and unify them and the appointment of service providers and associations.

Mr Naidoo analysed the ratios of black to white boxers and male to female boxers in the provinces. It was more than obvious from the statistics that there had been a drastic decline in the number of white male boxers. The Northern Cape had not produced any professional boxers. BSA was the regulatory body for professional boxers only. He also referred to spectator statistics to show the popularity of boxing especially amongst black and white males and black females.

Mr Naidoo added how BSA intended carrying out development of boxing. The matter of personal financial benefits for licensees was touched upon, as well as personal benefits for boxers such as medical aid, insurance cover and tax advice. He also spoke about how BSA was moving from a stabilisation phase to a qualitative phase whereby the boxers' skills and talents were being acknowledged. The interest that was being taken in the boxers as sportsmen and people was resulting in a sense of "worthiness".

Mr Naidoo spoke about BSA's fiscal governance and compliance. The Auditor-General had criticised their financial reporting previously and there was now a huge expectation for BSA to account for their use of finances. BSA had been registered as a public entity since December 2003 and they wanted to comply with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). BSA had a unified structure, which had replaced a federal structure. There were 10 different accounting authorities throughout the country and various levels of control. The next AG report would also be highly qualified because the process of consolidation was only completed in March 2004. The debts of the previous provincial committees, which have been closed down, have been finalised.

Because of the developments in the sport, BSA was finding SA boxing to be a marketable export product and they had already been invited to establish a boxing regime in Botswana and China. BSA had also compiled a set of boxing regulations that were considered to be second best in the world. He went on to mention a few of the challenges BSA faced and finished by thanking the Committee for the opportunity to present their report.

Discussion
A Committee member asked if BSA or promoters should be responsible for setting up tournaments because in the past, promoters had complained to Parliament that they did not have the freedom to organise tournaments. Their job was therefore being taken out of their hands.

Dr Ngatane replied that the role of organising a tournament belonged to promoters, but it was their duty as the governing body to facilitate good promotion. This was the reason why they started the academy to teach promoters the business acumen to organise tournaments. Promoters previously did not regard boxing as a business and now they had to. The responsibility of organising a tournament was shared between the promoters and BSA.

A Committee member asked if this report was the latest report. According to the accountability arrangements, BSA was supposed to report to Parliament within five months of its year-end, and the new report was overdue. It was disappointing to read what the Auditor General had said - particularly that there was no supporting documentation and therefore the Committee should question the data. When would BSA present its most up-to-date report?

Mr Naidoo replied that the tabled report was the 2003 report and that they were late in presenting the latest report, which should have been presented on 30 September. They had written to the Minister to explain why they were late. The report was with the Auditor General for auditing and it would be with the Minister of Sport by 9 November. He believed that what had set boxing back was the fact that BSA was established in the middle of a financial year. Therefore, BSA's opening balances were difficult to pinpoint and that was one of the problems that the AG had encountered. This was one of the reasons that they got a highly qualified report. The first problem was trying to consolidate something without knowing what the starting point is. The second problem was that they were trying to give Parliament a single financial statement, but they were taking it from ten different places. He believed that the 2005 report would be a much better report because BSA now had one set of financial accounts. BSA was closing down all the banking accounts of the provinces and there would therefore be better accounting in the next financial year.

A Committee member noted that in terms of the breakdown of promoters, it was not clear what percentage was black and what was white. Could BSA give the statistics?

The reply was that there were 36 promoters, 4 of whom were white and 32 black.

A Committee member asked if there any regulation stipulating what trainers are to be paid.

Dr Ngatane replied that there was such a regulation. In reality, the professional boxers were the employers, but they did not always see themselves as that. Twenty-five percent of the boxer's winnings should be paid to the trainer as a minimum unless there was another arrangement, which they have to inform BSA of. The winnings get paid straight into the boxers' bank accounts and they therefore were responsible for paying their trainers.

A Committee member asked what was the reason for the decline in boxing because the standard of boxing was going down.

Dr Ngatane replied that the problem was that poor quality amateurs were becoming professionals. He said that in the past when someone was a good amateur you could be almost sure that he would become a good professional, but today the situation was not as clear-cut. Mr Naidoo said that the Bill was supposed to cover "combat sports" and amateur boxing should fall into that category which would give BSA a say in amateur boxing which they did not have at present.

He continued that the decline in spectators was due to competition by television. Local and internationally boxing were dependent on revenue generated by TV and various sponsors. There was also talk of boxing being sold on the Internet.

A Committee member asked what was the reason for the decline in the number of white boxers?

Dr Ngatane said that he could be wrong, but as he was one of the first black administrators in the sport, he had noticed that white boxers simply left the sport because of the influx of black administrators.

A Committee member pointed out that there used to be provincial boxing boards of control, why had BSA changed from that and what advantages were there in this approach?

Mr Naidoo said that with one body they were getting greater financial accountability and there was better communication with the licensees. It was a democratic decision made in consultation with the licensees and they were happy with the new structure and it had definitely improved boxing.

A Committee member asked if benefits for boxers had already implemented?

Dr Ngatane responded in the affirmative and added that when boxers renewed their licences they became entitled to benefits.

The Chair said that they faced a big challenge. If they pursued a view of boxing as a non-racial sport then BSA would have to do everything in their power to bring the white boxers back. He said that he would be a little worried if the administration was black and therefore everything could collapse because people did not want that kind of administration.

The Chairperson wanted to know why boxing was televised so late at night.

Mr Naidoo said that they had had discussions with the SABC and they brought the viewing time forward by half an hour. Until they could command more sponsorship, the television times would not change because boxing was fourth on the SABC's televising agenda.

The Chair wanted to know about a Bill that was being drawn up. How far along the process was it and how much were they paying the law firm to draw up the bill?

Mr Naidoo said that the Bill was a personal favour that BSA was doing for the Minister and that it was being done free of charge. They were working with the Minister's law advisor on the Bill.

The Chair also mentioned Mr Stan Christodolou who was consulting for BSA. He had worked for BSA, then resigned and was now consulting for them. He said that he was not comfortable with this arrangement because it seemed to indicate that Mr Christodolou had found a loophole in the system and was possibly exploiting it for more money. The Chair wanted to know how much he was being paid for consulting.

The reply was that Mr Christodolou was paid about R400 000 per year.

The Chair said that BSA should be producing a new layer of Christodolous because power in one man's hands was dangerous. Sport should be a catalyst to unite people across the board.

The Chair also registered concern at BSA not having any ties in the amateur boxing arena. He wanted to know whether BSA was tracking boxers at school level.

Dr Ngatane pointed out that Parliament only governed professional boxing and that because different bodies governed amateur and professional boxing, there were no ties between the two.

The meeting was adjourned, and then two gentlemen gave the Committee a presentation on a new sport that was being developed, called Skyball.

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