When Sentinel visited the outgoing Boxing South Africa (BSA) provincial manager, Andile Klaas at his Gugulethu home, he was in a combative mood.
Many who have worked closely with him over the years won’t easily associate this belligerence with the man whom the ringsiders lovingly refer to as Mickey.
On March 12, the boxing governing body had written to its licensees informing them among other things, that it had not extended
Klaas’s contract and would look for his replacement at a later stage.
But this was not what made
Klaas seethe with rage.
“On Friday February 28, I received two emails from the former chief executive officer of the BSA Mr Tsholefelo informing me at first that my contract had been extended but would not be renewed and I was expected to serve until March 31.
“The second email came later in the day advising me that my contract had been terminated with immediate effect,” he said.
On that afternoon Klaas caught a flight to officiate a boxing match in East London and upon his arrival there ringsiders were fully aware of his circumstances and had started to peddle rumours about his dismissal.
“I felt embarrassed because I had only communicated with the head office about this matter and now it was everybody’s business. I felt betrayed having worked so hard for the game I love so much,” he said.
Emile Brice, a boxing promoter who a few months ago staged a gala dinner for Klaas, said his anger was not misplaced because he was a “true servant of the game”.
“To be treated like that really got him angry and he did not deserve such,” said Emile.
BSA director and now acting chief executive officer, Cindy Nkomo, would not be drawn to comment but said they needed Klaas to hand over official documents to the association.
“With regards to BSA material; BSA, through my office, has engaged Mr Klaas on the matter of the outstanding paperwork which ordinarily should have been submitted by now,” she said.
Klaas, who has served as a Western Cape boxing administrator for decades, said he will no longer challenge his removal from the office but he was “deeply disappointed”.
“I did my work out of passion and to be pushed away like this does not sit well with me,” he said.
Western Cape Boxing Association’s secretary Welsh Macibela said they were shocked to learn of Klaas’s situation and had wanted to engage BSA on the matter but could not due to Covid 19 lockdown regulations.
“We still want to understand why they removed him because he was doing his job wonderfully,” said Macibela.
Boxer Myolisi Xayo hailed Klaas as a good administrator who met most of the promoters halfway in trying to promote sport in the province.
“His legacy will live on and I wish him good rest at home,” he said.
Sentinel sportswriter Lonwabo Marele has fond memories of Klaas.
“On a cold rainy day at Philippi, I remember the legend, Mickey Klaas, and a couple of other legends, watching young boxers during a tournament.
“He not only loved the sport, but he admired the youngsters in and out of the ring.
“He was down to earth, and gave some words of advice to the boxers and coaches.”
Matchmaker Willie Saayman said throughout the years, Klaas stood strong for boxing in the province.
“We all may have had a little disagreement or two through the years with him, however, we all always had a leader who cared, who understood and often went the extra mile.
“I hope that he will continue playing a vital role in boxing.
“The boxing fraternity is a
family and Mickey will remain family.
“If we in the Western Cape have to start a journey with a new representative then let it be so as we as the boxing family will remain focused on the higher goal which is ensuring our boxers reach greatness,” said Saayman.