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SA boxing left in limbo as CEO quits

Tsholofelo Lejaka.
Tsholofelo Lejaka.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Boxing SA is now without a chief executive following Tsholofelo Lejaka's resignation yesterday. His five-year term was to end next year.

Lejaka from Thaba Nchu in the Free State was announced as the CEO by then sports minister Fikile Mbalula in 2016. None of the previous CEOs before him – Mava Malla, Dumile Mateza, Krish Naidoo, Bongani Khumalo and Moffatt Qithi – finished their five-year terms in office. They either jumped ship or were pushed.

Boxing SA chairperson Peter Ngatane refused point blank to deny or confirm that the regulatory boxing body no longer had a CEO.

“I can’t comment on that,” Ngatane said. But Khulile Radu, one of BSA's senior board members, said: ‘Yes, Lejaka wrote to us on Monday informing us about his departure and also explained why he was leaving. Every board member has a copy of his letter. The man has got potential to do bigger things and we can’t hold him back. It is just unfortunate that he had to leave at this point in time.”

In his own response, said Lejaka borrowed from the Bard of Avonto explain his move.

“As William Shakespeare once acclaimed in his play Romeo and Juliet, 'parting is such sweet sorrow'," he said.

"The pain of leaving a sector you’ve been an integral part of for our years will naturally hurt… However, knowing that you are leaving without any acrimony or bad blood is also comforting because whenever you reunite with old friends and colleagues it will always be a huge celebration because with lots of fond memories to reminisce about. The reunion time will surely come but unfortunately for now, it’s time for parting.”

Still Lekaja did not say why he chose to leave a year ahead of time; or did he choose?

Before his appointmet in 2016, South African boxing was at some point regarded as being beyond repair because there were transgressions aplenty, including allegations of maladministration and corruption. But it was not long until Mbalula appointed Lejaka who was entrusted with the tasks of saving the sinking ship and barely three months into the job, he knocked the sport into shape. He made sure that boxers who were owed money for tournaments they had fought in got paid.

Lejaka worked under four different ministers - Mbalula, Thulasi Nxesi, Thokozile Xasa and Nathi Mthethwa. Most of the things that Lejaka committed to achieve were indeed achieved. He’s unfortunately leaving without having changed and modernised South African boxing law but he was able to finalise the draft amendment regulations and get the sector to agree on the urgent areas of the regulations.

This is a  developing story.

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