Mzwanele Manyi hits back at Helen Zille’s Springbok 'quota' comments

'Many more Siya's (sic) and Mapimpi's (sic) are sprawling in the villages and townships deprived of opportunities'

07 November 2019 - 12:01 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Mzwanele Manyi.
Mzwanele Manyi.
Image: Alon Skuy

African Transformation Movement (ATM) founder Mzwanele Manyi has hit back at DA federal council chair Helen Zille's comments about quotas in the Springbok side.

The debate started when News24 assistant editor Pieter du Toit‏ questioned the “deathly silence from the ethno-racial nationalists”, who moan and complain about “quotas” in rugby, after the Springboks' Rugby World Cup (RWC) victory in Japan at the weekend.

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Zille responded by saying the national squad was chosen on merit, not quotas.

“Quotas would have required the side to be exactly demographically representative. This side, on the other hand, was chosen on merit.

“They made us all proud. No quotas. Just pure excellence and world-class performance,” said Zille.

Manyi joined the conversation and hit back at Zille. He told her black people were not asking for favours, but opportunities.

He added that there were many talented and aspiring rugby players like Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and winger Makazole Mapimpi in villages and townships, who were deprived of opportunities.

Earlier this year, Kolisi received backlash on Twitter for saying former president Nelson Mandela would not have supported quotas.

During an interview with Kyodo News in Japan, he said: “I don't think he would have supported that. I think you shouldn't put a number on stuff such as that.”

Kolisi said transformation should start at grassroots level in township schools.

“Imagine if I did not go to an English school. I wouldn't have been eating properly, I wouldn't have grown properly and I wouldn't have had the preparation that the other boys did,” he said.

He also said it should take place at local level, such as in the Currie Cup.

“In South Africa it's tough. We want results and we want transformation.

“I wouldn't want to be picked because of my skin colour, because that surely wouldn't be good for the team,” he added.