Stofile: SARU should say sorry

2010-05-10 11:55

Johannesburg - Sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile says the country's rugby union federation should apologize to Maoris in New Zealand for excluding them from tours during the apartheid era for being nonwhite.

Stofile wrote a letter, published on Sunday in New Zealand's Sunday News newspaper, saying the South African and New Zealand rugby governing bodies should say sorry on behalf of their predecessors.

"An apology to those who were the victims of racial discrimination is in order," Stofile wrote. "This cannot harm anyone who genuinely accepts that racial prejudice was an injustice then as it still is an injustice now.

"I do believe that both the NZRU and the SARU should apologize for the folly of those who came before them. We cannot be expected to simply forget where we came from and the pain it caused many people."

Maoris were not allowed to tour with All Blacks teams in 1928 and during the apartheid-era series of 1949 and 1960, because South Africa wouldn't allow nonwhites to play against the Springboks.

Stofile wrote that South Africa and New Zealand were the "biggest culprits" during apartheid for excluding deserving players from national teams based on race. He said it was sad that the New Zealand Rugby Union "cooperated" when South Africa refused to allow nonwhites to play.

SARU said it had "taken careful note" of Stofile's comments and would release a statement Tuesday after meeting the NZRU at an International Rugby Board session in Ireland.

"The South African Rugby Union will make a formal statement on the subject once I have had the opportunity to share our position with my counterparts from the New Zealand Rugby Union," SARU president Oregan Hoskins said.

It would be a landmark decision for SARU, formed during South Africa's shift to democracy, to take responsibility and say sorry for the policies of rugby administrators during apartheid.

SARU was formed in 1992 and is a union of the formerly whites-only South African Rugby Board and the South African Rugby Union. It is made up of many nonwhites who were discriminated against during apartheid.

Rugby is closely connected to South Africa's racist past, as it was the sport of the apartheid government and caused black people to support visiting teams over the all-white Springboks.

But post-apartheid it has tried to shake off those connections.

South African rugby's most poignant moment came in 1995 when new president Nelson Mandela wore the green-and-gold jersey of the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg, endorsing the national team and the sport's new nonracial setup. New Zealand, ironically, was the team South Africa went on to beat in the 1995 final.

New Zealand's rugby union has twice asked the Maori Board if it should apologize for excluding Maori players from tours to South Africa, but Maori officials have said an apology is not necessary and they would rather focus on the future.

New Zealand celebrates 100 years of Maori rugby this year, and may mark the occasion with a match between a Maori team and a South African side.


  • JSC - 2010-05-10 12:06

    Why not focus on the future too Stofile? Your government is racist as well with Employment Equity and BEE. Start to focus on true and real Democracy. That is if you can.

  • Anton - 2010-05-10 12:09

    We can just not forget and forgive, can we. Now people must start apologising for what their forefathers did. Maybe the Zulu's must apologise for what they did do Piet Retief and his friends. Really, we can not hold people accountable for what other people did before them and neither can anybody ask for forgiveness on behalf of somebody else - it just is not Biblical. The only Person that could stand in for other people was (and still is) our Lord Jesus Christ

  • Char - 2010-05-10 12:14

    Please someboby tell my why Mr Stofile is still living in the past. Let it go. If the shoe was on the other foot would he still call for an apology.

  • Cedric - 2010-05-10 12:15

    I agree 100 percent and they should remove every name of players pre-1994 like the Du Preez, Roux etc from S.A rugby ...VERYY GOOOD MINISTER,,Now we are coming right.

  • Cedric - 2010-05-10 12:15

    I agree 100 percent and they should remove every name of players pre-1994 like the Du Preez, Roux etc from S.A rugby ...VERYY GOOOD MINISTER,,Now we are coming right.

  • Cedric - 2010-05-10 12:15

    I agree 100 percent and they should remove every name of players pre-1994 like the Du Preez, Roux etc from S.A rugby ...VERYY GOOOD MINISTER,,Now we are coming right.

  • Pire - 2010-05-10 12:16

    Hahahaha...typical SA. Living in the past, blaming the past and never going forward. NZ is probably laughing at us now (again).

  • LUMP OF COAL - 2010-05-10 12:22

    And this chop should say sorry to the true rugby supporters in South Africa for becoming obese through too many meals in white owned restuarants !!!!! What a chop ...... lemme guess , he played under 16 in the Eastern Cape 25 years ago ????

  • SA Citizen - 2010-05-10 12:26

    Get a life - time has moved on if you have nothing better to comment on don't bring back apartheid time - move on you malema clone stirring trouble all the time. never forget that yo are not perfect either.

  • DUNCAN GOHL - 2010-05-10 12:30


  • anon - 2010-05-10 12:31

    Will the whining from this incompetent never stop? This is old history, and has been addressed in the sport long ago! How about we demand an apology from you and your ANC cronies for your incompetence, thievery and corruption? That is a topic which is of much greater importance. But anything to drag the old apartheid specter out of the closet for political mileage, and divert attention from your own mismanagement and misdemeanors. Better you start asking why your national soccer team is languishing so far down on the world rankings ..

  • carlos - 2010-05-10 12:32

    I agree. Everyone should apologise. Xhosa must also apologise for all the cattle they stole in 17voetsak.

  • Kobus - 2010-05-10 12:34

    Even the maoris think this is a joke,Mike.......try and focus on something important for a change,like your job,which I presume you get paid for by white people as well,nobody sqeals about the useless soccer team we have(for obvious reasons),but rugby and white people are to blame for all that works

  • herman - 2010-05-10 12:36

    Who can we apologise to for allowing this moron to open his mouth in public?

  • Mike - 2010-05-10 12:36

    This dumb fat chimp should realise that the Maori couldn't give a toss about being excluded from tours to South Africa. They're too busy getting on with life while this fool wanks in the media.

  • Al - 2010-05-10 12:37

    I agree, let's say we are sorry. And because we are a nation focussed on the past, let's remember to do so every 5 years from now on, least anyone forgets what a bunch of racists we are and least anybody manages to begin living a normal life.

  • Johann - 2010-05-10 12:38

    Could this Cedric chap be Cedric Frolick. Sure sounds like that whining twirp! Typical to repeat yourself...

  • Richard Nixon - 2010-05-10 12:38

    SARU was'nt around back then? It's funny how message can take on a different meaning depending on the messager.

  • GVA - 2010-05-10 12:39

    Makhenkesi Stofile and Cedric,Cedric,Cedric are my Plonkers for April.

  • deon - 2010-05-10 12:40

    Doc Craven apologized on several occasions, much to the dismay of the NP.

  • Johan - 2010-05-10 12:41

    Cedric, wake up please.

  • phatcat - 2010-05-10 12:41

    So, spot the difference - the NZ Maoris (who have more reason to be aggrieved than the SA indigents) say "focus on the future". Our own natives can't let go of the past. Perhaps that is why Maoris (who make up around 10% of the NZ population) make up 40% of the NZ rugby franchises, while our own idigents need government legislated quotas in order to make teams...

  • Art - 2010-05-10 12:44

    Goodnes me...seems like this Idiot is still living in the PRE 1994 Era... We have moved on Mr Minister, in case you have NOT NOTICED!!!!! Why does this govt keep on flogging a DEAD HORSE??? To me the FUTURE is the place to focus on... NOT THE PAST!!! What brought this on anyway????

  • Dave - 2010-05-10 12:47

    I thought we are supposed to be moving forward. Why is Stofile trying to drag up the past and for who's benefit. Lets focus on winning games for a change or is that not importatnt anymore.

  • mm - 2010-05-10 12:47

    Viva Springboks viva - Shame stofile - It is 2010!!!!! even the Maori's wants to focus on the future - says a lot how far ahead the Maori's are from the "victims" in SA - it is just because rugby is still the best sport in SA and not soccer - and you have to live with it!!!!

  • @cedrik - 2010-05-10 12:48

    go jump off a cliff you chop..... if you like it or not the whites made rugas how it is today a winning team that is top ranked not a loosing soccer team thats 90th or something

  • Duncan - 2010-05-10 12:48

    Who is this Stofile Van Winkel who has just woken up after 15 years .A real rip off! Catch a life Rip.

  • Pierre - 2010-05-10 12:48

    Minister, do you really have nothing elso to do!!! Please, close down you department, resign and save our tax money!!!

  • Dave - 2010-05-10 12:50

    This is like saying all men should apologise for not allowing women to vote in the past..

  • Deon - 2010-05-10 12:50

    I strongly agree with Minister Stofile, to be able to move forward you must try to fix what happended in the past. Unfortunately apartheid is a burden that we and the next two generations will have to carry irrespective whether we took part in it or whether it was a previous generation. The problem with current white South Africans is that they are no effeort in reconsiliation from their side and that's why they will always have problems with issues like this and ten thousand others. It is not that we are living in the past it is because we want to fix the past to enbale future generations to live and enjoy the freedoms that we and past generations were not priviledged to have.

  • Albert Einstein - 2010-05-10 12:52

    Stoffie needs a shrink.

  • johann geurtze - 2010-05-10 12:52

    Should everything be about Politics and it`s about 100 years ago,"History"

  • MDB - 2010-05-10 12:54

    Makhenkesi Stofile is still bitter cause his brother got voted out of the rugby board 2 years ago . . . . . .he he he ! (so funny)

  • Greg - 2010-05-10 12:55

    Prick of the week,month,decade.......... a uncontested candidate

  • Blou Bul - 2010-05-10 12:55 stead of wasting your time on rubbish which is long forgotten why don't you and your entire ministry FOCUS on soccer. Played by the majority of South Africans and they still cant field a side that can beat Leshoto. Or perhaps we need to call a spade a spade...get rugby's administrators to run soccer....then who knows maybe we reach the next SWC on merit and not by default.

  • Marty Mcfly - 2010-05-10 12:56

    This is seriously not funny anymore. When will we stop living in the past! While we at it can we get the queen of england to apologise for the atrocities that happend to the boers in concentration camps! Can someone please tell this Stofile comrade that the revolution is over instead of casting a negative shadown on rugby!

  • Blou Bul - 2010-05-10 12:58 stead of wasting your time on rubbish which is long forgotten why don't you and your entire ministry FOCUS on soccer. Played by the majority of South Africans and they still cant field a side that can beat Leshoto. Or perhaps we need to call a spade a spade...get rugby's administrators to run soccer....then who knows maybe we reach the next SWC on merit and not by default.

  • Boats - 2010-05-10 13:00

    @Cedric. Poepol!!

  • norman - 2010-05-10 13:04

    I think the lard ass minista should rather focus on a good weight loss program as he is starting to look more and more like his predecessor "Incondi Banquet" Where do they find these palookas?

  • Race Selections since 1994 - 2010-05-10 13:04

    Very sensitive issue but I believe white South Africans have through their leadership apologized several times for Apartheid by now (also bearing in mind white South Africans in the 1992 Referendum voted ourselves out of power and against Apartheid). My question is who is going to apologize for race based selections through 'quotas' since 1994. In the meantime it would be great if we could move on and the politicians leave sport to the fans and paying public. Sport builds bridges, politicians plant political bombs to destroy them.

  • Big Cheese - 2010-05-10 13:07

    By the same token Italy should apologise to all Christians for feeding them to the lions and other wild animals at the Colosseum in 27 BC . Stofile should also apologise on behalf of Nonquasi to the Xhosa people for letting them commit national suicide way back when. Fool !

  • Benzo - 2010-05-10 13:10

    hey, Stoffie...running out of things to do? Go have a beer with your mates instead of bothering the NZ's with this SA nonsense.

  • Deon - 2010-05-10 13:11

    Please don't let this become a bigger issue than it needs to be. Minister is quite right. Apologise and move on. Then we can focus on rugga issues again.

  • De Waal - 2010-05-10 13:13

    Maybe we should say sorry to America that Columbus and co killed the Indians aswell. Kom by Stoffie, word wakker asb tog!

  • Jan - 2010-05-10 13:16

    Why live in the past? Or don't you have anything to past your time with?

  • Robert Kay - 2010-05-10 13:21

    Stofile, who I know from the dys I used to live in the Eastern Cape, was useless as premier thee, and stuffed up the province. He was then "re-deployed" as the ruling party call it, and became minister of sport, a portfolio he also has no idea of how to run. After sitting on his butt making various noises and increasing his girth through many cocktail parties, he has come up with this brainwave?? Go farming, ol' man, or do something else usefull. They must be laughing their heads off in Australasia!

  • @Deon - 2010-05-10 13:28

    Fix the past? What don't you understand about the past being a time that has gone? If you find out how, please let me know, I want to say goodbye to my dad.

  • Andre - 2010-05-10 13:30

    Dear (obese) Minister of Sport: A fat lot this would help sport in our country. Why not focus on developing sport in all codes. Where is your soccer development programme? Here is a tip: handing out soccer balls and t-shirts does not constitute development. What happened to athletics, boxing, netball and swimming? Why this obsessed focus on rugby? I assume that it is that you do not know how to do your job and the evidence is there. Obviously it is easier to “make a statement” once in a while for the benefit of the parliamentary committee. Get a life.

  • fraud - 2010-05-10 13:31

    @phatcat...for the past 10 years or so at junior level, black players almost dominate (on merit). Look at the easter tournaments, craven week and our (highly successful) junior springboks. But why is it that only their white team mates make it to currie cup and super 14 level? I can assure you that the black players that are currently playing currie cup or super 14 are not by far the best black players out there. Most exceptionally talented black players are forced to retire after they turn 21 - why? We all know why (if you are honest enough with yourself). I'm also against quotas, by how else should we ensure that DESERVING players are included? Coz quite frankly, it's very easy for a provincial or club coach to deny a talented black player an opportunity to play, and simply use the excuse: "he doesn't fit my gameplan", "he doesn't have the physique", etc. It's just like AA/EE. Many qualified black engineers/doctors/actuaries/CAs etc would be unemployed (despite their skills and qualifications) if it weren't for AA/EE. Fact.

  • Philip - 2010-05-10 13:35

    How can we move forward if we keep bringing up the past? That is like 50 years ago!