Now is not the time for negative comments about the Springboks.
Beauty Dlulane, chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on sport and recreation, said this in response to South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins’ open letter to South Africans.
In the strongly worded letter, Hoskins expressed his frustration with South Africans who criticised or wish the Boks would do badly in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup.
Dlulane said the portfolio committee on sport and recreation wanted all South Africans to unite behind the Springboks.
She added that Hoskins and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula had expressed similar sentiments.
“We encourage the media and all South Africans to understand that there is a process that is led by the government, with the sports and recreation department at the helm, to ensure that sport unites us and that there is social cohesion.”
She said the committee was working hard to ensure that there was transformation in all sectors – especially in sports that were previously dominated by white people.
In his letter, Hoskin said that only 3% of boys in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga had access to rugby at school.
Dlulane said the situation in rural areas must change and all school children should have the opportunity to take part in the sports of their choice, including rugby.
She referred to it as “a journey that is receiving attention” and is being closely watched by the processes “that hold those responsible accountable”.
“We believe that there is more than can be done and we will endeavour to ensure that it is successful.”
She added that the Springboks were going to the World Cup as our national team “who serve our best interests with the best players who have been chosen and South Africans must unite behind them so that the Springboks know that the nation is behind them”.
She encouraged South Africans to show their support for the Boks during the World Cup by wearing their Springbok jerseys on Fridays.