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Sport needs urgent transformation, says minister

by Vivian Warby
on 28 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Transformation in the sports industry needs to take place at a faster pace and be taken seriously among players and administrators, says Sports and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile.

Addressing the National Assembly during his department's Budget Vote on Tuesday, the minister said he was concerned about the slow pace of transformation in South African rugby.

He said government had urged that winning the Rugby World Cup last year should not be squandered like it was in 1995. "There is no indication that anyone listened."

"Even as the [ticket tape parades] of the world champions was arranged, it needed intervention to avoid being a totally elitist affair.

"Power relations in the economy as well as ideological resistance to change were strikingly glaring in the arrangements," he said of the victory.

Mr Stofile continued to say that the recent selection of the cricket team to Bangladesh and India had given rise to an "ugly spat" regarding transformation issues.

"This exposed what we have always been arguing, that most of our sports federations do not have a transformation agenda, except on paper only," he said, adding that during the process players were manipulated to make anti-change statements.

There are, however, signs of transformation worth celebrating, especially at school level with Grey College in Port Elizabeth selecting their first black captain in 150 years.

Peter De Villiers also became the first Black National Rugby coach in South Africa since the 19th century.

"Surely, these are positives in the transformation of things in South Africa. They should make all of us proud and motivate us to do more."

The minister noted some of the highlights of the year included the success of the cricket team in their recent games in India and at home, the successful season of the wheelchair basketball team and men's hockey team, the swimming team and a number of other codes that won major championships.

He also congratulated all the athletes who have qualified for the Beijing Olympics.

Individuals like Trevor Immelman and James Kante "have also made us proud in golf".

"We also wish to congratulate Annie Kloppers on being accredited by IFNA, as an international netball umpire. This gives South Africa its second person in that category after Maggie Du Plessis," said Mr Stofile. - BuaNews

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