Hard line taken on 'white' sport

07 April 2014 - 02:00 By Aphiwe Deklerk, David Isaacson, Liam del Carme and Telford Vice
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times

Failure to field 60% black players will lead to the Proteas, the Springboks and Bafana Bafana being banned from representing South Africa at international events.

This is according to resolutions taken by the Department of Sport following a meeting between Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula and the provincial MECs for sport on Saturday. They discussed a report, released last week, on the status of transformation in the most popular sports , rugby, cricket, netball, athletics and football.

Mbalula said the group decided to increase the 50/50 quota system to 60% representation after noting a "lack of willingness in implementing transformation, especially the enforcement of quotas".

Failure to implement the new quotas would result in withdrawal of any form of funding and support to federations and sport bodies, he said.

"[We will] withdraw the national colours of any federation that is hell-bent on the current set-up and status quo."

Mbalula said his department would block sponsorship of any sports association that was hostile to transformation. Bidding for and hosting sports events would become illegal without government approval.

The 60% requirement would come into effect immediately.

"The Minmec [ministers and MECs] recommended that it must happen right away. We are going to engage and inform rugby and all the other sporting codes that this is something that has to happen.

"[We will be demanding] development plans from the South African Rugby Union, South African Football Association, Cricket South Africa, Athletics South Africa and Netball South Africa as a matter of urgency and with immediate effect."

All the resolutions of the meeting had to be implemented before the new government administration took office after the May 7 general elections, Mbalula said.

Asked about possible resistance from sponsors, he said he had not heard "anybody" argue against the new quota, but he "would cross that bridge when I get there".

"Transformation is not going to be easy so we have to talk to them. I have instructed my people to engage the private sector equally because they are the biggest investors in sports transformation and sports in general," he said.

Saru spokesman Andy Colquhoun, who could not reach the union's CEO Jurie Roux for comment, asked: "Is the minister asking us to implement a quota of 13 black players in Super rugby teams from next Saturday and the Boks from June, for instance? There is a lot that needs to be understood ."

CSA spokesman Altaaf Kazi said it was still waiting for a meeting with Mbalula about the report on the pilot study on transformation.

"We are not in a position to comment on the statement as the minister might want to explain what he meant when he finally meets us," he said.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam agreed that many federations were failing in terms of development.

"We are seeing it for the Anoca Games ['African Olympic Games for youth] in Botswana later this year. Some federations cannot submit teams," he said, singling out shooting and archery.

"Shooting says the problem is that they've been banned from schools [as a sport]," said Sam.

Lions cricket coach Geoff Toyana said: "We are going in the right direction at CSA, but if there is a quota it could help. We have been through the days of black batsmen coming in at Nos 8, 9, 10 and 11, and black bowlers who bat at No9 and don't bowl.

"That doesn't make sense. Transformation is about giving players quality opportunities. We've done that at the Lions and the players haven't disgraced themselves. I'll be happy if something like this happens. I would support it."