2019 transformation plan a 'funeral policy' - DA

2016-04-20 12:25
SA Rugby logo (Supplied)

Cape Town - Transformation, transformation, transformation. 

That was the theme that emerged from Tuesday's national portfolio committee meeting between SA Rugby and the Department of Sport and Recreation. 

SA Rugby tried their best to convince national government that they were on the right track, with Jurie Roux suggesting that they had scored "80%" on the transformation scorecard over the last year.

Committee chairperson Beauty Dlulane, though, was not convinced. 

It was unfathomable, she said, that transformation and conversations surrounding transformation were still in such early stages 21 years into democracy.

Her views were backed by most of the politicians in attendance ... but not by the DA's deputy shadow minister for Sport and Recreation, Darren Bergman. 

Bergman questioned the decision to have a Springbok side made up of 50% players of colour by 2019.

Transformation, he said, was an imperative but one that needed to be carried out responsibly. 

"I would still suggest and put it that this transformation policy is a funeral policy … maybe a nicer name is calling it 'colour by numbers,'" said Bergman.

Bergman was concerned that the policy would encourage South African players to further their careers overseas.

"The problem with that is not that it’s white players (leaving South Africa) … it’s a mixture of players and the feedback would be that we are creating two classes of player again," he said.

"When you play overseas, you’re a rugby player. You’re not a white player or a black player, you’re just a rugby player.

"When you play in South Africa, though, you’ve got the added burden of being judged … are you there because you’re a merit player, or are you there because you’re a certain colour?"

Bergman challenged a rethink when it came to transformation policy, saying that a greater focus should be placed on the lower levels as opposed to the national team.

"I don’t think that’s what we meant when we said we want transformation. We’re totally for transformation, but the transformation has to be responsible," he said.

"Transformation … if it was taking place correctly at school level, club level and provincial level then we would never have to worry about what was happening on a national level because then transformation corrects itself. 

"I think the message is clear: hands off the Springboks for now.

"Let’s deal with transformation on the real levels, where it makes an impact … let the Springbok team basically metamorphosize because of real transformation."

Bergman's 'funeral policy' comparison was not well received by anybody at the meeting - SARU representatives included - and Dlulane instructed him to stop using the term

"Because with this funeral policy what I envisage is that come 2019 you will have your 50% transformation because that’s what we wanted on paper," he said.

"But I believe that by 2020 or 2021 you’re going to have the same problems again because the colour by numbers program will not be able to be sustained." 

In response, SARU CEO Jurie Roux re-emphasised the organisation's commitment to transformation. 

Read more on:    springboks  |  jurie roux  |  rugby

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