Government assembling best legal minds to face Solidarity over sport transformation

07 May 2018 - 16:03 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Sport Minister Tokozile Xasa.
Sport Minister Tokozile Xasa.
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

The South African government is putting together the best possible legal team to face Solidarity in court ahead of the trade union's bid to challenge transformation in sport.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa confirmed on Monday that she has instructed the director general in her department‚ Alec Moemi‚ to get the best legal minds in the country at whatever cost in preparation for the court battle against Solidarity.

Solidarity and AfriForum took SA Rugby‚ Cricket South Africa (CSA) ‚ Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Netball South Africa (NSA) to court in May last year over transformation targets. But Xasa said they would not allow anyone to undermine what they are doing.

“We are facing a court case by Solidarity that says what we are doing is unfair to those who have held privilege since the dawn of colonialism and apartheid‚” she said.

“I have issued an instruction that we defend this case with all the might the state has‚ we cannot afford to lose this case.

"It is of such national importance because it can potentially reverse the gains of democracy for the under privileged majority.

“I have further directed the director general to assemble a senior and capable legal team to defend what is necessary to secure the future of our country and its stability.

"In the year of the centenary of Nelson Mandela‚ we believe that this process is key to the success of the reconciliation and nation building process our country is currently engaged in.”

Xasa said she was disappointed that Solidarity are trying to frustrate and challenge the whole transformation agenda in the country but warned that government would do whatever is necessary to protect the underprivileged majority.

“They are taking us to court because they want to (preserve) the apartheid legacy.

"Our stance is not to purge anyone but to give opportunities to all South Africans and ensure that we create an environment of inclusivity and for our young people.”

Xasa announced that rugby‚ netball‚ football and cricket have met the transformation targets they had set for themselves over the past year.

Though South African athletes have consistently performed well on the international stage‚ Athletics South Africa did not fully meet their self set targets largely because of their poor development programmes.