Solidarity CEO: 'I don't know of any black coach who is overlooked because of the colour of their skin'

07 March 2019 - 13:32 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Solidarity chief executive officer Dirk Hermann.
Solidarity chief executive officer Dirk Hermann.
Image: Solidarity/Twitter

Solidarity chief executive officer Dirk Hermann said quotas have negative connotations for black players who have made it through to the elite professional ranks.

Solidarity‚ along with their sister organisation Afriforum‚ took the Department of Sports and Recreation and five other sporting bodies to the Labour Court on Wednesday to have the transformation charter set aside.

The respondents in the case were Cricket South Africa‚ Netball South Africa‚ SA Rugby‚ Athletics South Africa and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

Judge Zolashe Lallie reserved judgement in the case but it's clear Solidarity believes that quotas or transformation targets do not have a place in South African elite sport.

“If you listened to Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus‚ he said he'll need the necessary quotas but they're on merit.

"Ironically‚ rugby and cricket succeeded in developing black players on merit and they're the ones that must argue that they're successful without quotas.

"They have the merits but they still want to play with quotas‚” Hermann said.

“So long as they have quotas‚ the Springbok captain will always have a placard around his neck that says he's a quota player when he's not.”

Sports Ministry spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said Solidarity needed to understand that transformation was for the benefit of the broader sports spectrum to ensure there's inclusiveness at all levels.

“We don't treat all sports in the same manner.

"We have different barometers given to the different federations in terms of how long they can get their policies into place.

"From there‚ they'll come to us through the Eminent Persons Group report and explain their progress.

"We'd like Solidarity to come and look at previous reports where they've seen how the federations have gone about their transformation policies‚” Mhaga said.

“Dirk is referring to an old system that didn't work.

"It's important that transformation works in a way that ensures the system is transformed in every sphere.

"That's from the board to the presidents because that has an impact in how the sport is played.”

Sunday Times recently ran a story of how five of South Africa's six Super Rugby and Pro14 franchises don't meet SA Rugby's Strategic Transformation Plan in regards to having a 50 percent target in terms of employing black coaches in their elite ranks.

Hermann said the unions often pick whom they deem is best for the job and skin colour isn't a factor.

Only the Southern Kings have a black head coach in Deon Davids while the rest of the teams have white head coaches.

“I'm quite convinced that the rugby unions want to win and they'll employ the best coaches.

"I can't think for one moment that a black coach won't be considered because of the colour of their skin.

"If I look at the reaction of the general public when a black player is selected in a rugby team and is doing well‚ every single supporter gets behind the player because he's the best and not because he's black‚” Hermann said.

“The fact of the matter is that I don't know of any instance where a black coach is overlooked because of the colour of their skin.

"If there's such a case‚ I want to re-confirm that Solidarity will take that up in court with no doubt.”