Gaming the Lottery

Mystery grows over province’s R23.7m Lotto ‘boxing arena’

Boxing arena? Where? This was the response of Boxing SA (BSA) in the province to the news that the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) more than a year ago paid R23.7m to build a state-of-the-art boxing facility in the Eastern Cape.

Boxing arena? Where? This was
the response of Boxing SA (BSA)
in the province to the news that
the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) more than a year ago
paid R23.7m to build a state-ofthe-art boxing facility in the Eastern Cape.
NLC spokesperson Ndivhuwo
Mafela confirmed the commission had approved a grant in the
2017/18 financial year.
It was made to a company
called Nunnovation Africa Found at i o n .
Mafela said the arena was in
the Storms River area in the
Koukamma municipality and it
was near completion.
However, BSA Eastern Cape
manager Phakamile Jacobs said
while they longed for such a facility, he knew nothing about the
province getting one and had
never heard of Nunnovation.
“What you are telling me is
news as we know nothing about
a boxing arena that has been
built in the province.
“We dream of having such a facility. We are constantly using
municipality halls like the Orient
T h e at r e.
“I can say there’s no such boxing arena that we know of as BSA
in this province.”
Adding to the puzzle is the fact
that the Storms River area does
not feature on the boxing map,
unlike areas like Mdantsane,
Duncan Village and Port Elizabeth, which are known for producing some of the best boxers in
the world.
BSA Eastern Province representative Nceba Dladla, whose jurisdiction covers the Koukamma
municipality, said he had never
handled a boxing event in Storms
R ive r .
“I did not even know that
Storms River is under my jurisdiction,” he said.
“I am surprised now if you say
there is a boxing arena there, and
the question is, who does it
s e r ve? ”
The Koukamma local municipality ward councillor in Storms
River, Hester Pullen, said she was
also not aware of a boxing arena
in her area.
“There’s a hall that was built
with the support of Lotto. But
there’s no sign that it is a boxing
arena, but maybe it’s a multipurpose centre,” she said.
The provincial department of
sport, recreation arts & culture
similarly pleaded ignorance.
General manager Bafundi
Makhubalo said he had heard
talk of the need for such an arena
by the then sports minister Fikile
“I know for a fact that minister
Mbalula mentioned the need for
a boxing arena but I never heard
if it was built,” he said.
Mafela confirmed the building
of such a facility in Storms River
but said it has not yet been occupied.
“The organisation [Nunnovation] was allocated the said
amount in June of the 2017/18 financial year.
The boxing arena has not been
occupied as yet. However, the
structure is complete with roof
and plastering and the contractor
is now busy with fencing, to be
followed by plumbing and elect r i f i c at i o n . ”
Two years after its registration,
Nunnovation, which is based in
Centurion, Pretoria, received the
multimillion-rand funding to
build a boxing arena in the Eastern Cape.
The executive chair of Nunnovation, Khathu Mashau, said they
had changed the venue an indoor
sports centre, rather than a boxing arena.
“Engagements with the local
municipality moved the project
to not only focus on boxing, but
consider other sporting codes.
Thus it is now an indoor sports
f a c i l i t y, ” said Mashau.
He would not answer to
whether BSA was aware of such a
ve n u e.
Asked how much they had received and spent for the hall, he
referred the Dispatch to NLC.