Kodwa welcomes judgment that KO’d boxing promoters in high court case

17 April 2024 - 09:43
By David Isaacson
Zizi Kodwa at Bafana Bafana's arrival at OR Tambo Airport. File photo.
Image: Veli Nhlapo Zizi Kodwa at Bafana Bafana's arrival at OR Tambo Airport. File photo.

Sports minister Zizi Kodwa on Wednesday welcomed the high court judgment that obliterated his legal opponents, the National Professional Boxing Promoters’ Association (NPBPA), by ruling they had no legal standing. 

But he didn’t offer any insight as to why he didn’t throw this knockout punch in December when the promoters took him to court objecting to the board he had appointed to take over Boxing South Africa (BSA).

It would have saved the sport much pain and uncertainty.

Justice Nelisa Mali of the Pretoria high court was clinical in her judgment on the latest application filed by the NPBPA against Kodwa and others.

“According to [BSA] the applicant did not submit their annual reports for 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 financial years to BSA as required in section 28(4) [of the Boxing Act],” Mali said.

“In replying to this the applicant submits there is no basis for non-recognition of the applicant because BSA sent the applicant a congratulatory letter after the applicant’s inaugural elective conference during October 2022.

“The applicant locates its legal standing in the Boxing Act. It follows that to prove its existence it must comply with the provisions of the Boxing Act.

“BSA's conduct in sending the applicant a congratulatory letter does not equate to submission of financial statements, peremptory requirement. With this shortcoming alone the applicant lacks legal standing.”

In short, the NPBPA doesn’t exist.

So how did it win the first round when Kodwa declined to oppose their application to interdict the new board he had appointed?

He offered no explanation in his press release on Wednesday.

“The judgment marks a salutary corrective measure on the path to restore stability and ethical governance in BSA. For too long BSA has been bleeding as an institution, with athletes losing match time and promoters and trainers losing their market share.

“This court decision is an opportunity for all stakeholders in South African boxing to link and focus on the roadmap to reset and revitalise the sport,” Kodwa said.

One of the major problems facing boxing had been the previous board, which made several decisions that appeared to be in direct contravention of the Boxing Act.

Yet the former acting CEO of the old board Erick Sithole recently wrote an affidavit highlighting what he believed were the problems associated with appointing director of operations Mandla Ntlanganiso as the new acting CEO as well as accounting authority, also the central issue of the NPBPA’s latest case.

Somehow his stated desire for justice had not included how the NPBPA had failed to fulfil its legal obligations, of which he would have been aware as acting CEO. Sithole should have known, or at least strongly suspected, the association lacked legal standing. 

At the time the NPBPA first went to court complaining they had not been consulted by the minister — the Boxing Act requires the minister to consult all associations — there were allegations that they were not a legitimate body.

Kodwa could have won then and there and BSA would have had a board all this time. Instead, the minister recently committed to going through a new appointment process, which is to finish shortly before the elections next month.

His press release didn’t suggest he would change his stated route.