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Mbalula responds to transformation debate

2015-08-29 11:47

Cape Town - Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa Fikile Mbalula has released a statement to deal with the ongoing transformation debate and the announcement of the SA Rugby 2015 World Cup Team.

See who made the squad HERE!

Mbalula statement comes on the back of Friday's Springbok squad which will compete at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England in Wales next month. 

Mbalula's full statement which was released via Facebook:

"The Minister of Sport and Recreation in South Africa noted the recent poor performance of our National Rugby Men’s Team, the Springboks, and concerns based on the poor demographic representation in the composition of the Team. The Minister further noted the legitimate public outcry based on the non-selection and denial of game time for deserving black players.

Now that the Springbok coach Mr H Meyer announced the Team that will represent South Africa at the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Cup in the United Kingdom, the Minister takes this opportunity to remind all South Africans that we are delivering sport under conditions that were not chosen by ourselves. We have accepted these objective and subjective conditions under which we had to operate to change the sporting landscape. We realized earlier on that there are no short-cuts, neither works fiction nor magical divine solutions to achieve transformation goals. We inherited a sporting system wherein there were agreements reached at the time of the unity talks ( driven by the National Sport Council) in sport that included the concessions of hosting of the successful IRB World Cup in 1995 and the much vaunted 50/50 representation in the Springbok Team post the World Cup period. With the passage of time, we in retrospect will agree that had those concessions been implemented in the past 20 years of our nascent democracy, history would be written and interpreted differently.

It is for these reasons, amongst others that, we from the onset prepared ourselves to join hands with all South Africans whose purpose and objective is unity, social cohesion and nation building through sport, to find realistic and forward looking policies and strategies that would yield the desired transformation results in the interest of rugby and safeguarding the interests of all rugby players.

To this end, The Ministry would like to remind, indulge and sensitise all South Africans of the work we have embarked on and continue on a daily basis, under challenging circumstances and navigating complex delicate terrains.

In doing so we would like to start, as our entry point, to this perennial discussion and necessary transformation discourse with the sector-wide National Sport and Recreation Indaba (NSRI) convened in November 2015. This will enable us to retrace the road traversed since the unification of sport in our country hitherto, having taken stock of that, chart a new pathway for fundamental transformation of sport and recreation in South Africa. It is now a matter of historical record that NSRI adopted three significant and watershed documents:
The National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP). NSRP contains the Transformation Charter as a formal policy guiding transformation in Sport in South Africa. This Charter has been adopted by the entire sport sector of our country and has an accompanying Multi-dimensional Scorecard. The Charter put emphasis on the key pillars on which transformation in sport should be measured. The pillars include Access, Demographic representation, Governance, Employment equity, Preferential procurement, Funding, Institutional culture, etc. The Scorecard then measures the targets that are set against these pillars in a scientific way to determine progress or lack thereof. The whole NSRP (including the Sport Transformation Charter and its accompanying Scorecard) were subsequently adopted by the South African government at a Cabinet meeting of 18 May 2012.

The NSRP, the Charter and Scorecard were assented to by the sport movement at the National Sport and Recreation Indaba through the signing of the Declaration by the National Sport and Recreation Department, all federations and the South African Sports and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). This signaled a public commitment by the sports movement to accelerate the implementation of effective, impactful and sustainable transformation plans with, measurable, visible and actual outcomes. 

Resolutions that are currently being implemented monitored and evaluated in respect of each federation.

In our quest to deepen the transformation drive, in May 2012, the Ministry of Sport and Recreation appointed a Sport Transformation Commission aptly called the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Transformation in Sports to advise me on measures necessary to quicken the tempo and effect meaningful transformation as well as changing the sporting landscape for better and for good.

The EPG through its Secretariat also administers the Scorecard as a tool to monitor and assess progress on an annual basis. Since its appointment, the EPG has released two Sport Transformation Status Reports called the Sport Transformation Barometer.

The first of these reports was a pilot study to establish a baseline study on the 5 biggest codes in our country, Netball, Football, Cricket, Athletics and Rugby (so-called the Sports ‘Big 5”).

This allowed the EPG to set and recommend targets over a medium-term period to be met by these five sport federations for transformation in their codes. The second report released earlier this year sought to establish baselines for the 11 other codes and to commit the ‘Big 5’ to transformation targets. This paved way for the signing of Transformation Agreements with the ‘Big 5’.

The next Sport Transformation Barometer will now begin to track the performance and meeting of targets or lack thereof of the ‘Big 5’ and also set targets for the 11 others, thus also paving way for the signing of Transformation Agreements with the 11 other sport federations. These reports are a culmination of the ‘EPG Annual Transformation Audits’.

The transformation agreements further stipulate targets set for each sporting codes, compliance requirements and punitive measures for failure to meet the targets. These punitive measures are progressive depending on the extent of non-compliance with provisions of the charter and not meeting the set and agreed to targets. The punitive measures include among others the following: 
Suspending or withdrawal of Government’s funding to South African Rugby Union (SARU) in terms of section 10(3)(a) of the Act in writing, if applicable;

Withdrawal of Government’s recognition of SARU as a National Federation in terms of section 10(3)(b) the Act in writing where after the Minister may publish such a decision in the Government Gazette;

In essence, revoke SARU’s authority to host and bid for major and mega international rugby tournaments in the Republic in writing in pursuance of the prescripts of the Bidding and Hosting of Major Events Regulations Gazetted and Published in line with the National Sports and Recreation Act and also as a result of not recognizing SARU;

Withdrawal of SARU’s opportunity to be awarded national colours via SASCOC to rugby players who participate in rugby under the auspices of SARU in order to represent the Republic internationally and nationally in writing;

Terminate the existing five year agreement in writing to due non-compliance; or

Request the Minister in writing to consider issuing a directive in terms of section 13 (5)(a) of the Act as SRSA deems fit and appropriate, which may include but not limited to the withdrawal of political support and endorsements for sponsorships.

It is our understanding that SARU is on course towards the realization of the set targets. The evidence is there for all to see that the provincial franchises are increasingly and progressively fielding competent players African black and generic black players.

It is also our understanding that the rugby fraternity prepares for all their games at club, provincial and at national levels, be it women or men sides that they are at all material times cognizant of their commitment and the consequences thereof.

In this connection, we are under no illusions about the daunting challenge presented by the fact that 84% of under 18 years old South Africans are black and (part of the historically most disadvantaged group in the country) and only 16% is coloured, white or Indian. This sad reality is our foremost preoccupation as the leadership of the sports movement as we make the case for sport and motivating for shaping and reshaping the longer term future of our sporting codes and athletes.

I hope all South Africans appreciate the fact that South Africa is a signatory to the Olympic Charter and this comes with responsibilities and obligations that prohibits governments from interfering with team selection. Furthermore, the National Sport and Recreation Act contain no empowering provisions to enable the Minister to interfere in this specific matter of team selection.

I have however met with the SARU leadership give them an audience and to remind them of their responsibility to cascade the letter and spirit of our agreement vertically, horizontally across all facets of their code.

The Selection of 11 generic black players of the 31 players as part of the IRB World Cup Team demonstrate our progression and SARU’s abiding commitments to achieving the set targets as stipulated in our tri-lateral Memorandum of Agreement.

It is for these reasons mentioned above that we call on all South Africans to support our national team as it prepares to depart our shores to represent this glorious nation and make us proud as they have done on countless occasions. We must dawn our green and gold jerseys from now on and throughout the world cup as a demonstration of a united country that acknowledges it’s divided past but continues to strive for a non-racial, democratic and united South Africa.

We are all agreed within the sporting movement that transformation is a strategic and moral imperative and therefore a non-negotiable. Furthermore, it has now become a necessity and an imperative than ever before due to the above highlighted fact that 84% of under 18 years old South Africans are black and (part of the historically most disadvantaged group in the country) and only 16% is either coloured, white or Indian.

It is counter productive to only put focus on the 16% of the population and not to focus on the majority 84%. We are on a daily basis confronted by recalcitrant relics from the past and tendencies whose ulterior motives are to dilute or derail the transformation agenda. I can say with good measure that we are dealing with them and they will never defeat the determined march and drive to a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic sporting landscape."

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