South Africa's basketball community

Basketball in South Africa: Make your own conclusion…

By on October 5, 2010 in News

False promises, lies, deceit, corruption, nepotism and lack of planning are hurting the game of basketball in South Africa and every year is like a vicious circle of inaction on the part of the people in charge… We watch as the years go by and another wave of hope is dashed. The problem is not that we don’t have the talent but that we don’t have the administrators in place to revive the sport. And those that are trying to revive it indep

endently are faced with countless hurdles from the mother body Basketball South Africa (BSA). As a result, we end up sending teams and coaches to international competitions to fail because we don’t equip them with the tools to succeed.

After the publication of the article yesterday, we received a response from BSA challenging most of these allegations. I have posted their response to the article in green.

False dawn…

When the current BSA regime was “elected” into power it gave them an opportunity to distance themselves from the past and set the sport of basketball in South Africa on a new path to recovery. They had a chance to prepare the ground for the future of the game by setting up the structures and by having a plan of action to help the sport move forward but instead we are still at the same stage we were when they took power.

Lotto monies

Where is the money?

Lotto has been giving BSA money on a regular basis for a long time but we don’t see any end product. According to the figures released by BSA themselves at their recent AGM, they received around R8 Million rand from the Lotto Board in 2009 but if we look back at last year there were cancelled interprovincial tournaments, players didn’t get paid for camps and tournaments on time and we still don’t see any deliverables. How do you keep funding a federation that only cares about what happens in one province, when it is supposed to govern Basketball in the whole country?

Instead of trying to send teams to international events, BSA should focus on getting their house in order by having an office (ideally have a presence in every province), an administrator and putting the building blocks together for the future at grass roots level.

What BSA did recently is send the team that went to the African Champs a post dated contract and decided to pay the Mens team (Maybe a tactic to keep them calm and quiet because of their influence) while the girls teams are still to receive their dues (rumours has it they will be boycotting the next camp if they are not paid). And considering that most of the ladies on the team are still students, I would think that a bit of money would come in handy.

BSA’s response: Lotto prescribed to BSA how the money they were given should be used. They are against Corruption and nepotism and will investigate where this is happening. As far as the players being paid is concerned, all relevant parties were aware of the situation and that once the money from the Lotto was available all parties would be paid their dues. And up to date BSA has only received R1.6million of the said R8million.

  1. Financial statement

After the AGM of the weekend of the 11 and 12th of September 2010, Mybasketball obtained the financial statements that were released during the event.

BSA financial statement 2010 (Document)

Financial Report 2010 breakdown (Document)

Upon closer inspection you realise that there isn’t anything concrete that comes out of the document. The spending of the money is more general than anything else, some of the items in the document are confusing. So the question should be where is the money going?

The “Independence” of the auditors is questionable considering that Zanele Ngwenya (BSA treasurer general) is still listed on the company’s website as one of their employees.

Link Sithole Incorporated CA (SA) Profile and Zanele Ngwenya (Document)

If you scroll down to page 29 of the document above you will see:

Key Contacts per Division

Chartered Accountants (S.A.)

Stefaan Sithole CA (S.A.), B Acc, MDP, HD Business Management 082 3333357
Zanele Ngwenya, B Com, B Com Hons (Acc) 082 3357694 “
BSA’s response: Mr Ngwenya left the employ of Sithole in 2008 and went on to work for Barloworld and therefore has no link with the independent Auditors at present.

BSA is basically run by the few people…

Let’s take a quick look at some of the people involved in BSA and some of the links:

Mr. Malesela Maleka – President of BSA (had an association with VUT in the past.)

Mr. Zanele Ngwenya – Treasurer General of BSA (VUT ladies coach)

Mr. Florsheim Mlungisi Ngwenya – National Team coach (VUT men’s coach)

Mr. Tsepo Nyewe – National Administrator (Involved with VUT as their manager at one stage)

You might say that this list of people is different to the people on the board but as a matter of fact these are the people making the basketball decisions in South Africa, the rest are puppets or just followers. As you can see the common link here is VUT.

Let me give you an example: Mr. Monwabisi Planga – BSA board menber, was elected onto the board as a representative for the Western Cape region; he has since been removed from his position in the province by his own structures during the WCBA (Western Cape Basketball Association) AGM and doesn’t play a major role in any committee in the province. He is still a member of the BSA board and therefore still has an influence on decision that will impact a province that don’t support him.

The president of BSA, Malesela Maleka, doesn’t seem to really know what is going on with Basketball in South Africa. He knows what Zanele Ngwenya and Tsepo Nyewe tell him is going on but he might be too busy to go on the ground and speak to the real stakeholders of the game.

BSA is run by a small group of people that seem to have forgotten that they are a national federation not a University Committee. If we look at the BSA board that was elected, you will find that most of the other board members are not even involved in the game anymore and some have been banned by the Department of Sports in their respective provinces.

Most of these members resurface when the time comes for elections, AGM and meetings that abound to nothing since we see no progress… I guess a free ride (hotel, food, flights to the meeting) for some is better than the fate of a whole nation.

BSA’s response: It’s not the first time that the link between VUT and BSA is made, the President was involved in basketball before going to VUT and Tsepo Nyewe was employed in BSA before the current committee was voted in by people that were not from VUT.

As far as Mr Planga is concerned, nobody is elected into the BSA board to represent a region of his/her constituency. The board is accountable to provinces of BSA so you cannot account to yourself by being in the board of Provinces.

Unrealistic Calendar

Here is the calendar that was released by BSA at their AGM:

BSA calendar (document)

Looking at this “ideal” calendar, 80% of the events on it will not take place, will be cancelled or postponed or if they do take place we will be informed a day before they happen and it will end up being disorganised.

BSA’s response: BSA only cancelled the U18s IPTs last year, They have just concluded the U13, U16 and U18 Wheelchair tournament this year; they have had a coaching seminar and have set up a coaching task team. BSA held a Woman’s camp for the first time this year that was attended by close to 90 officials. Therefore Mybasketball prediction of failure cannot be backed by what has already happened this year.

Lack of planning

Youth Olympics

South Africa recently took part in the Youth Olympics and with the basketball tournament being of a 3 on 3 format, the results showed that whether we play the full 5 on 5 format or the new format we are still behind when it comes to development. Schools, coaches, parents and players are doing their best to keep the sport going but without any form of unified vision and/or guidance all these efforts are in vain.

World Student Games, African Champs, etc…

If you know anything about basketball in South Africa, you would know that most of the senior teams were and are picked telephonically. The national men team coach Florsh will dispute that fact but most of the people in the know will tell you that it is still happening. When was the last time you saw a selection camp in your province to pick the best players? When was the last time you saw the national team coach at your university tournament to see if there is an emerging talent that could be groomed to take over the reigns from the “golden” generation. Coaches say that they don’t have a choice but to stick with the players they know and that because of  the lack of development their option are limited. The question remains, why don’t the coaches make BSA accountable or come up with a union strong enough to question the motherbody on the issue of development?

The development of coaches, players, officials, etc.. should be a priority in order to get the game off the ground again . For example, USSA (University Sports South Africa) has a role to play in the development of sport considering that they have the facilities and can create academies to nurture the upcoming talent. It is a vicious circle, USSA requires to take players to the World Student Games but with the lack of development at grassroots, you have a lack of talent and with no infrastructure in place to create that environment they have to rely on what they have coming out of high schools.

Here is the latest list of players to attend the next camp from the 9th to the 17th of october 2010:

A lot of the old guard remain and I know they are very proud to represent the country by wearing the green and gold but you can’t help but wonder how long they will be call upon to mask the deficiencies of our sport by giving us a performance on the international scene.

Now with that in mind, what are the chances of ever discovering another Chili Nephawe? Slim to say the least and as long as the status quo remains then change will not happen any time soon.

National coach to Europe…

Our national team coach, Florsh Ngwenya,  spent a few months in Europe on a basketball development course last year and at the time BSA was saying that he would come back and impart the knowledge gained on the local coaches but it has yet to materialize. By now all that was learned is probably irrelevant or forgotten and the trip looks like a nice little holiday getaway. Florsh probably remains the only coach on the books of BSA with a monthly salary and the perks of the job while some of the other coaches at grassroots are doing it for the love of the game. We still don’t have a championship of any sort to talk about and we see no progress in how our national teams are run from the juniors all the way to the seniors.

BSA’s response: Contrary to Mybasketball statement, Mr Florsh Ngwenya doesn’t earn a monthly salary from BSA.

BWB and NBA office…

Basketball Without Borders graced our shores for a few years and instead of using it to develop the game in the country from a strategic point of view, we enjoyed the freebies that came along with it and in the end it departed without any concrete lessons learned. Let’s hope Africa can benefit from it and use it to create a few more Dikembe Mutombo and Hakeem “the dream” Olajuwon.

The NBA recently showed that they hadn’t completely given up on SA by opening it’s offices in Johannesburg and hopefully it will be a wake up call for BSA to use this opportunity or lose it again without gaining from it.

Article by Victor Shakineza

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There Are 23 Brilliant Comments

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  1. MzTee says:

    WOW. Telling it like it is Victor!

    All we are asking for is transparency. Its all we ever ask for from any of our governing bodies.

    Thanks for this eye opener, we should all hold our Associations accountable and answerable as they are there for us > not the other way around!

  2. Emma says:

    Victor, THANK YOU for this article!!!! Is it worth starting a petition to instigate a formal investigate and have members removed from power.

    There also needs to be a new process to elect NEW members onto national bodies, as the current process clearly replicates the same old problems.

    I am happy to be involved in any admin work required to start petitions and get things moving.

  3. Yani8m says:

    …thanx Vic…& i had ppl crap on me for sayin w@ i did on da hood last year…glad i’m not da only one who’s been pickin’ up on the jibe t@ is SA Basketball & publishin’ it out there for the bball community to see…

    …like MzTee said…transparency is crucial…& as long as “VUT Alumni” or its subjugated affiliates are runnin’ the show…then bball in RSA really is @ a loss…

    …if anythin’…BSA in its entirety shd be scrapped from the top to the bottom (YES IN T@ ORDER)…as far as i kno (pls correct me if i’m wrong)…its never bn done b4 so there4 tryin to hold a bunch of old guns accountable years after the fact is just not fathomable…start again…& hav a bunch of new / dedicated / hands on / involved ppl who will take the game & its development more seriously…we can’t really mend the damage done by BSA in the past…but we can just start again… (I BELIEVE!!!) & yeah…i’d be more than willin to help…

    …@ no cost…i just hope more ppl wd join the cause too…we can’t be accountable to a dictatorship of literally 4 ppl & bare the brunt of a deterioratin’ an entire bball nation…

  4. Joseph Mangadi says:

    Hehehe! Excuse me if I find this a bit funny. Months ago I foresaw that we would be exactly where we are right now, that is NOWHERE! I was told numerous times that I am negative and that I need to give the ‘NEW’ board a chance. I screamed ‘SCAM’ and as usual I was labelled an ‘IRRITANT’. Much as it pains me, but I TOLD YOU SO.


    For example, the fact that provinces, like Gauteng, and Schools basketball are non-functional cannot be blamed squarely on BSA. Therefore before we start pointing fingers what are we doing to ensure that its member structures like provinces are functioning?

    AMEN bazalwane.

  5. Dumzer says:

    Excuse me for replying Mzalwane but anything is funny but this, if you have real hopes for SA basketball that is. When resources have a blockage, in this case the source, what’s the point? I grew up with no clue about politics in basketball, instead of persuing that passion, I ended up trying to solve this puzzle, how us that anyone’s fault?

    BSA is to blame yes, for one thing I have never seen them do physically in my community, developing basketball. Member structures are also to blame for not challenging the situations, if they’re not in the drama themselves. You have a good point, provincial structures are also a failure, because the very source is.


  6. Emmerentia says:


    Please display your full name, especially when making comments. I’m asking you to do this because my name is also Emma (Emmerentia). I already know that the first assumption when people see your name and comments they gonna think it’s me, Emma Ledwaba. I just dont want any confussion. I talk too much and I’m not scared to raise my views but I don’t want a case of a mistaken identity.

  7. Matt says:

    I think BSA and their representatives should be going to each province and meet with all the coaches and the pronvince delgates for an open IMBIZO…..agenda where to from now> We are going nowhere slowly!!!!!

  8. Onkgopotse says:

    @Vic – Wow… Thats some insightful stuff. I think we all need to start looking in the mirror now. Lets just do something. Like Vic is doing…?

  9. Manyehlisa Lehohla says:

    The problem with basketball in South Africa is that we the people who love the sport are waiting for miracle to happen and that is not going to occur anytime soon.
    We can have debate and have discussions all we want, but it also has to be backed up by action. Again look at a country like Angola with limited resources but look at what they have achieved in the basketball world they recently participate in World Championships and Olympic Games because they take it seriously and they love the sport. While we on the other hand are reduced to mere spectators.
    We are our own Achilles heel in this regard because we don’t want to take the initiative to help basketball grow. We need to start building a foundation now for the this sport to flourish.

  10. The saddest part about this is that there are so many people who are incredibly passionate and already doing amazing things, but it needs recognition and support from the top to really fly.

    That hasn’t been forthcoming so far, too much emphasis on control, too little on growth and development.

  11. Agree says:

    Well said. Someone needs to do something about basketball here… Because I really can’t imagine continuing to play for my university when half the referees are biased, there’s a dictator in charge (the old man in charge of the WCBA) and, all in all, there’s no progress. I’m tired of this, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  12. Vince#13 Wp says:

    Victor big-ups to you and your team man ya’ll are LEGENDS, most of us would have been in the dark about such info and yet we sweat everyday for the game we love and yet petty politics and greedy individuals are killing an already wounded basketball game in South Africa and yet no-one is accountable.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It is so sad to see how our game has dwindled down to just about nothing. Balling is a very good example of how politics cannot be mixed with sports.

  14. roach says:

    Hmmm, this is what happens when you get a so-called national team coach who is busy telling the media that they are racist and they are the reason why there is a need for a media tribunal…..


  15. Joseph Mangadi says:

    OMG here we go again, all speak and no solution. We can complain all we want, but what is the way forward? How do we ensure that BSA board functions properly? The solution is one word: ‘ACCOUNTABILITY’.

    It is my long held view that BBALL can only be fixed if WE all understand how accountability functions. From a TOP-DOWN perspective, BSA board is accountable to its member bodies ie. USSA, Schools, Provinces, WCBA, etc. These member bodies in turn are accountable to its members eg clubs, individuals, etc.

    In a BOTTOM-UP perspective, as a player or coach I must express my views or concerns to with my club. IF the club agrees with me, the club then express my view or concern with the appropriate BSA member body eg USSA, Schools, Province. IF the member body agrees with the express view they then raise it with BSA board or BSA council.

    As it is evident above, for ACCOUNTABILITY to work as an individual I need to belong to a club or a BSA member body. It is MY RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that my club or BSA member body functions properly. More importantly is MY RESPOSIBILITY to ensure that my club or BSA member body organises MEETINGS where MY views are discussed and adopted. It is also MY RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that my BSA member body tables my view at a BSA meeting for discussion and adoption.

    In short, without proper functioning BSA member bodies (USSA, Schools, PROVINCES) and clubs NO ONE CAN HOLD BSA BOARD ACCOUNTABLE! Until WE FIX member bodies such as schools and provincial associations BSA board will continue messing up with impunity.

    THEREFORE THE SOLUTION IS, if WE are really concerned about BBALL and want to help. WE need to fulfil our end of the bargain by ensuring that clubs and BSA member bodies are working properly.


  16. Rose says:

    Joseph are even involved with schools basketball? For your information schools basketball functions rather well when compared with provincial and national levels, in fact I would say schools basketball is the only place that basketball actually functions effectively and where you find genuine passionate coaches who put blood sweat and tears into coaching the kids everyday. There are various school leagues and tournaments that run all year round. In Pretoria in particularly we have a functioning schools basketball comittee with dedicated members ensuring the effective running of the sport! I cannot speak for other districts but from what I have seen they are not doing too badly either.

    The only real lack when it comes to schools basketball is at primary level. There are perhaps one or two primary schools that offer basketball but mainly it is only the high schools and this poses a problem with late development of players.

    BSA plays a huge part in the lack of any development at schools level. You cannot simply dismiss their contribution or lack there of to the state of junior basketball. I agree that it is our responsibilty to ensure all is in order at grassroots level but at the same time BSA makes this very difficult by always insisting we ask their permission to hold clinics or development programmes or to do anything really. When one does ask, there is either NO response whatsoever or it is just NO! They are never open to any discussions and never give us a chance to implement our own ideas. BSA has never had anything positive to contribute to schools basketball only negativity or complete ignorance. No attempt is made at developing high school coaches, this initiative is always sabotaged by BSA. BSA never recognises or acknowledges the hard work done at schools level, they simply do not care! When one experiences this on a daily basis for years it becomes very discouraging and no matter how hard you try to give BSA the benefit of the doubt, there comes a time when they themselves have to be held accountable. When there is mis-mangement at the top, this trickles downward and ultimately affect the morale of everyone involved in basketball. This is a fact I have experienced for years!!! Despite the constant battle against the very people who are supposed to be helping us, schools basketball runs as effectively as it possible can with the limited resources avaliable.

    So, before you make bold assumptions like schools basketball is non functioning, please get your facts straight from people who have actually been involved at this level for 9 or more years.

  17. Joseph Mangadi says:


    I have no doubt that schools are playing basketball and am well aware of the various leagues, especially in Gauteng. However, does the playing equals ACCOUTABILITY? Does playing equals structural organisation?

    To explain my point, why do schools have Governing bodies? Why do schools have the IEB? Why do schools have district offices? Why do schools have provincial and national offices?

    To bring the point home, schools football in SA have provincial and national body, so does schools cricket and rugby. My question is do we have a schools provincial and national bodies? Are they properly structured? Do they function correctly? Therefore Leagues does not equals organisation, the league only takes care of the playing part in as much as classrooms takes care of the teaching part of education.

    Thus, for Schools basketball to function properly you also need a Gauteng Schools Association who will represent the schools at the Gauteng Basketball Association. You also need a South African Schools Basketball Association, who will represent schools at BSA level.


  18. Joseph Mangadi says:

    I wonder if the silence on this thread means that we are in agreement with the way forward or does it mean we are more confused or worse still do we feel powerless?

    Well, my guess is we are quick to point a finger at someone else when things go wrong. However as soon as the finger is pointed right back at us, we are slow to acknowledge our part in the wrongdoing. The power to move basketball forward lies in our hands, but for some reason we are choose to sit back and wait for Messiah to save us.

    We need to start taking RESPONSIBILITY by understanding and fulfilling our parrt in the ACCOUNTABILITY chain.


  19. Tifoed says:

    basketball is blessed with ppl who are supposed to be atticulate and know their ish…
    Well i guess we all understand perfomance indicator(PI).While some may argue that BSA is accountable to its members, i tend to disagree. We all know about bureaucratic structures right?. Yeah just like any other organisation, members of BSA report to a certain individual who also reports to someone above him and so on and so on. As a B Ball community we can make noise abt holding BSA oficials accountable but it wont weigh the same effect as it would comming from their superior. (It is vital that i say this so understand my point of view).

    Now Lets look at the BSA FY2010 year to date from the eye of the so called superior who will ofcourse get a report from the current BSA team.
    1.FiBA visit to iron out way forward (check)
    2.Youth participation in youth olympics (check)
    3.BWB (check)
    4.NBA office (check)

    Wow that is actualy very impresive for a short yr that actually included 2010 world cup( whic is supposed to be the reason there wasnt any league running for the whole year)=scapegoat..(Someone might actually get a bonus in FY10).

    Mind you the report stating this things will be atticulate and well written and the superior (whoever that is) who gets it will be so impressed he will also use it as his own PI.

    What im trying to say here is that we can make all the noise we want but if we want quick results we should target the problem from both ends..Make those busy superiors see that this house is not in order. BSA should not have such great PI.
    To cut a long story short, players should not respond to monkey bussiness, we need to own and be responsible for the game we love.

    – If BSA fails to arrange national events on time with proper trials conducted dont bail them out by reposnding to an SMS and accepting participation.
    – if they schedule a meeting one day in advance dont bail them out by driving there, because your presence does make a diff, stay away, and let em have it by their own..
    The idea is not to hurt the GAme but to avoid bailing em out when they failed on their part for they have a whole financial year to think whats ahead..and incompetency should not be entertained especially when they involve my hard works taxes…

    We all have roles to play..all succesfull orgs have structures..Players should play, admins do admin work, oficials do officiating work, Fans and bloggers blog, Writers (vic and team) write..


  20. Joseph Mangadi says:


    I totally agree with your stance that if we are not happy with BSA we should boycott their events. I have previously pushed for this stance but was told that I should LET THE CHILDREN PLAY. But I am happy that slowly but surely people are recognising that we cannot fix BSA without SELF SACRIFICE. So to the National senior men and women players I say BIG UP for boycotting the camps, that is if my informant is to be trusted.

    However Tifoed, I have to disagree with your view that we should report BSA to its superiors. As far as I am concerned we have done enough internally to be able to report BSA. As you correctly noted we need to follow the bureacratic processes for us to be able to report BSA to its superiors ie SASCOC & FIBA.

    In case you are not convinced, I can inform you other people had reported BSA to FIBA and SASCOC and they were told to first exhaust all the internal structures.

    So therefore Tifoed, do you belong to any BSA structure and have you tabled your unhappiness in that structure’s meeting?

  21. Cabby says:

    I thought of responding to this, but i felt let me rather wright an article instead as i believe my response would be better addressed that way

  22. Cabby says:

    I thought of responding to this, but i felt let me rather wright an article instead as i believe my response would be better addressed that way

  23. Joseph Mangadi says:

    I look forward to your article, as far as I am concerned transparent vogorous debate is the foundation on which the way forward for the basketball adminstration mess.