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The Independents (Part Three): Ex-world boxing champ Lovemore Ndou aims to ‘build a better SA for all’

The Independents (Part Three): Ex-world boxing champ Lovemore Ndou aims to ‘build a better SA for all’
Former world boxing champion Lovemore Ndou. (Photo: Supplied / Lovemore Ndou)

Known within boxing circles as the ‘Black Panther’, Lovemore Ndou aims to get rid of Black Economic Empowerment, fight corruption and pay police officers more to fight crime.

“I am concerned about the current situation in South Africa; I am concerned because our country is on the brink of collapse … We have a government that continues to deprive and exploit our people.  

“Going into politics is a decision I made based on the need to build a better South Africa for all — a South Africa where the future of our children is guaranteed,” former world boxing champion Lovemore Ndou said about his election campaign. 

Ndou is standing as an independent candidate in the 2024 general election. He will contest for a seat in the provincial legislature in Limpopo, his home province, or a seat in the National Assembly.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Elections 2024 – All your questions answered

Lovemore Ndou (R) strikes Bongani Mwelase during the IBO Welterweight title fight at Emperor’s Palace on 18 September 2010 in Kempton Park, South Africa. (Photo: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images / Getty Images)

The 53-year-old, who holds dual citizenship in South Africa and Australia, is coming back to South Africa for good after spending 28 years Down Under. He moved to Australia in 1996 to pursue his international boxing career and established himself there as an academic, businessman, author and lawyer, becoming a member of the country’s Hall of Fame. 

Ndou, who won three world boxing championship titles and heads a law firm in Australia, last year formed a political party called Building a Better South Africa (Babsa). However, he intends to participate in the upcoming elections as an independent candidate, to get his foot in the door, and run with his political party in the 2026 local government elections.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: Independent candidates won’t significantly change the picture of our political puzzle

Kell Brook of Great Britain and Lovemore Ndou (R) of Australia following their WBA International Welterweight title fight on 25 June 2011 at the Hillsborough Leisure Centre in Sheffield, England. (Photo: Chris Brunskill / Getty Images)

Speaking to Daily Maverick from Australia, Ndou said the government was failing the people of South Africa. 

“South Africa needs a better public health system. South Africans need better public health. Tertiary qualifications should be a guarantee of future employment. I dream of a government that will strive to create jobs, build homes, provide better living standards, better education, clean water for all, tarred roads and electricity. There should be no more dusty, rutted streets in townships. 

“Our current leaders are failing us. Our leaders should be the solution, rather than the problem.”   

Ndou is putting his money where his mouth is.

“I’m funding my own campaign. Every dollar, every rand comes from my own pocket. I’m doing this because I care about the people of South Africa. I have no motive other than to serve the people of South Africa and lead the country out of the crisis created by the ANC. I am willing to spend the last dollar that I have to help build a better South Africa for all,” he said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ANC and DA are the big losers and Rise Mzansi the big winner as political party funding game heats up

His campaign focuses on getting rid of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), fighting corruption, tackling power outages and water problems, and paying police officers a better wage.

For more on Daily Maverick’s The Independents series, read Part One and Part Two

Fraud and chicanery

He said corruption was “promoted by policies like BEE. The first thing we need to do is get rid of BEE. The idea behind the invention of BEE is laudable. It aimed to facilitate broader participation in the economy by people of colour and redress the wrongs of the past.

“But it achieved none of those goals. Instead, it fostered only fraud and chicanery. It has, unfortunately, turned into a trigger for an avalanche of corruption. It needs to be replaced with a better policy that will allow broader participation in the economy by all people of South Africa irrespective of colour or gender or affiliations with the ruling party without compromising the economy.”  

Turning to law enforcement, he said: “I believe if we pay members of the police force and military force better, they will stop committing crime. Part of the reason they are so corrupt is the fact that they are not getting paid well.

“The focus should be on empowering the youth instead of promising them short-term sugar hits. Training and educating people so they can qualify for certain jobs is what is necessary. Once people have jobs, crime will decline. Most crimes in South Africa are committed as a result of poverty,” he added.

Ndou wants to adopt the Australian model of building modular homes.

“Modular homes are affordable, sustainable and can be built fast. In conjunction with an Australian company called Hi-Tech Modular Homes, I’m putting together a Lovemore Scholarship, which will allow South Africans to be trained to build these homes. 

“I will be sending a number of South Africans to Australia to be trained and they will come back to South Africa and will teach other South Africans how to build these homes. This will create jobs for South Africans. Jobs they won’t have to pay a bribe to secure. Jobs that will also allow them to pay off homes they can afford. Modular homes are way better than shacks,” he said. DM 

Additional reporting by Victoria O’Regan. 

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