Rugby commits to transformation
Oregan Hoskins (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The SA Rugby Union (SARU) concluded its transformation indaba on Wednesday with delegates signing a declaration confirming rugby's commitment to promote and develop the game among all South Africans.
"This is a watershed moment for our sport," said SARU president Oregan Hoskins.
"Our sport has transformed significantly in terms of players, spectators, referees, coaches and administrators since rugby unity in 1992."
The declaration concluded a two-day workshop which began with Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula congratulating SARU on becoming the first national federation to hold such an event in the wake of the National Sports Indaba in November 2011.
SARU workshopped a transformation implementation plan which would be used to measure the sport's progress once the plan had been finalised.
"We have had visions and charters in the past, with good intentions, and progress has been made," Hoskins said.
"But what distinguishes this one is the commitment to properly measure ourselves on our progress."
The declaration was signed by Hoskins and representatives of each of the 14 member unions of SARU.
At the start of the indaba on Tuesday Mbalula had called on rugby leadership to ensure that all South Africans received a fair opportunity to play the sport.
"As the sports minister said, transformation is not about the 'vulgar' simplification of numbers in the Springbok team," Hoskins said.
"It is about a whole range of opportunities being created in a number of different areas to continue to transform rugby at all levels and in all corners of our activity."
SARU chief executive Jurie Roux said the indaba and declaration were part of an extensive strategy to finalise the transformation implementation plan.
He also said it confirmed that SARU would adopt deliberate transformation initiatives in order to ensure equal opportunities existed for all South Africans.
"We have had a group working on this process for several months," Roux said.
"In April we presented the outline to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport and since then we have workshopped the draft plan with provinces on an individual basis.
"This indaba is the culmination of that process and from this we will finalise the implementation plan."
Roux said the final document would be published and used to measure rugby's progress in six areas of access, skill and capability development, demographics, performance, and alignment to national policy and governance.
Delegates further resolved that: "Transformation is the process of holistically changing the delivery of sport through our actions to ensure increased access and opportunities in rugby for all South Africans."
SARU said the strategic transformation plan would among others increase the number of black people involved at all levels of the game and ensure rugby was accessible to all who wished to participate.
It said the purpose of the transformation plan was to establish a competitive and demographically representative rugby system.
According to SARU it would also improve skills and performance in identified coaches, referees, administrators and players and ensure equitable representation of black people at all levels of SARU.
The transformation plan further states that SARU members would focus on quality and merit to deliver world-class performances on the field of play.