mateza stung by criticism

DUMILE Mateza says he is well within his rights as a commentator to criticise.

He was reacting to Sowetan's report that quoted Boxing SA's acting chief executive Loyiso Mtya saying on Monday that Mateza's comments on Blow by Blow - that Jasper Seroka was robbed by judges on Friday in his fight against Sipho Taliwe - were disgusting.

Mtya's concerns about Mateza's comments were that they were made live on television, put judges on the spot, could damage the sport and provoke ugly scenes. He said he has since written a letter of complaint to Joe Visagie, the SABC's head of programming and scheduling, who was unavailable for comment yesterday.

But Mateza vehemently denied condemning boxing judges live on television.

"I might have said it privately. But even if I said it live, I've got my right to criticise judges," said Mateza in a strongly worded letter to Sowetan.

This reporter did not escape Mateza's verbal attack: "I am shocked but not surprised by the venom of the personal attack on my integrity and intelligence by the acting CEO of Boxing South Africa with the help of the Sowetan newspaper. The fact is that commentators are entitled to their comments especially if they can justify them," Mateza said.

"No amount of protestation from Loyiso Mtya and Bongani Magasela is going to change that.

"This was not the first time we criticised the judges and there were no complaints, why now?"

Mateza seemed irked by Mtya's remarks that he doubted Mateza was ever trained as a commentator.

"I have been a commentator for close to 30 years, to be told by an upstart who was shown the ropes by myself. This criticism of my commentary is made to deflect attention from more serious issues that have befallen BSA, of which he is the CEO. I will continue to lambast sloppiness by ring officials of the BSA - including the acting CEO - until shortcomings have been dealt with.

"Loyiso was not even at the fight."

Sports presenter Walter Mokoena got into trouble with the national broadcaster for calling for the dismissal of Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena and coach Joel Santana live on television. He has since returned to his job.