Cape Town - Minister of Sport and Recreation Thulas Nxesi has expressed his concern on transformation in relation to teams that represent South Africa at international sporting events.
Nxesi was speaking after the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee’s (SASCOC) general meeting at Olympic House in Johannesburg this past weekend.
“Let us remind ourselves that the transformation of sport is a national priority to promote social cohesion and nation building. Whilst we have seen real progress in some codes - most spectacularly with Rugby 7s - progress appears to be slow in relation to our participation in multi-coded international events,” Nxesi said via a press statement.
“For the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Team South Africa was more than 70% white. At Rio the representation was 60% white. I hope we will see further improvement in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
"This is about the national image of the country and the credibility of Team South Africa. It is about the political impact of the optics: people see an overwhelmingly white delegation to an international event, and questions are asked in Parliament - and we have to explain why development and transformation is so slow.”
Nxesi in his address also highlighted the challenges sport bodies face.
“We need to discuss the proposition that we may well be delivering sport in an ill-defined environment characterised by inaccessibility, inequality and low participation rates,” said Nxesi.
“SASCOC performs crucial functions for sport in the country bestowed and delegated to it in terms of the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Act no. 18 of 2007. SRSA and SASCOC have a joint interest in the well-being of sport.”