Mbalula to discuss Boks, transformation

2015-11-05 07:29
Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Sports minister Fikile Mbabula is expected to brief the media on Thursday on the Springboks' performance in the Rugby World Cup, as well as on transformation in the national team. 

South Africa lost to New Zealand in the semi-final stage of the tournament, following blistering wins against Samoa, Scotland and the USA. Those victories came after the Springboks lost in their opening game against Japan.

There has been debate about the racial make-up of the team, especially from the side of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) - who has taken a strong line against coach Heyneke Meyer. 

Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich said on Tuesday that Meyer "must rest assured that he is not welcome in rugby by the majority of SA supporters and he should go".

"Rugby is no longer the preserve of racist 'verkramptes', it is a National SA sport that belongs to all South Africans," he said. 

"He has given the transformation ambitions of black supporters the middle finger and now we are telling him to go. His record with the Springboks is the worst and cannot possibly justify an extension of his contract."

Peter de Villiers, whose tenure as Bok coach ended with a quarter-final defeat to Australia at the 2011 World Cup, also felt Meyer has not done enough to transform the team.

De Villiers has also hinted that the South African Rugby Union (SARU) is not committed to transformation.

"SARU clearly knows about one box that Meyer has ticked - it may well be that Meyer is pushing its agenda of not wanting to transform,” De Villiers wrote in his TimesLIVE column.

In September, the High Court in Pretoria said it would  play a "supervisory role" in ensuring that the national rugby team has more black players in future.

This was after leader of the Agency for New Agenda party, Tshidiso Mokhoanatse, abandoned his bid to ask the court to prevent the Springboks from leaving the country to compete in the World Cup as the team was too white.

He told reporters his intention had not been to stop the Springboks, and that it was a "tactical move" to draw attention to the need for transformation in sport.

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