Johannebsurg - It was too early to scrap quotas in South African sport, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday.
On the final day of the National Sport and Recreation Indaba in Midrand, during discussions on transformation in the plenary, it was decided that the quota system could not be scrapped while the transformation charter and the transformation scorecard would be adopted into the Nation Sports Plan.
During the final session of the transformation commission, where the resolutions were to be passed, there was widespread division on whether the system should be scrapped or reinstated.
“The indaba acknowledged the challenges and limitations with regard to the implementation of the quota system in its current form and the negative effects of this system in deepening racial polarisation,” Mbalula said.
“To this end, the indaba observed the unfortunate and painful stigma imposed on young black athletes and players as a result of the application of this archaic system.”
With the rigorous debate surrounding this contentious issue, it was decided that the quota system would not be scrapped, and the merit system would also not be undermined.
“However, a strong case has been made for the uninterrupted continuation of the quota system through the direct selection of black players into national codes, using the adopted scorecards contained in the transformation charter,” Mbalula said.
“You will still have that particular programme [quota system], but at the same time that programme will be enhanced by a visible and clear transformation charter.
"Federations and everybody else will be held accountable in terms of what we seek to achieve as a nation about integration, equity and accessibility in terms of different sporting codes.”
Rugby in particular came under fire, with SA Rugby Union (SARU) president Oregan Hoskins defending his federation.
Hoskins admitted the sport had not progressed as much as it could have in terms of transformation, but he invited more black people to get involved in rugby.
“It will not help to talk only in this forum. I also experienced the worst form of apartheid and the fact of the matter is that I am democratically elected [as SARU president],” Hoskins said.
“So I urge my comrades with the expertise to make yourselves available to the rugby unions and SARU to have a say.
"To effect change in rugby we have to start in the boardroom because, as you know, most of my brothers in rugby are white.”
Hoskins said he would seek clarity from Mbalula and the Sports Ministry as to what had been decided regarding quotas.
“We have heard the decision and that is contrary to what the Minister had said earlier - that quotas had been done away with," Hoskins said.
"The indaba has decided that quotas should not be done away with, so we will meet as SA rugby to discuss the effect of what has happened here.”