New sport quotas will be introduced to South African rugby, netball, soccer, athletics and cricket within the next year – failing which, the federations stand to lose millions in government funding.
The emergence of new affirmative action targets in South African sport was revealed by the trade union Solidarity who received the documents after announcing that it would be making an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia), to compel the Ministry to disclose information with regard to its transformation targets.
BusinessTech reorients the application follows a declaration by Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, last year who said that in the event of a federation failing to meet the transformation targets, he would consider applying any of the following penalties:
- Withdrawal of government’s recognition of the particular federation as a National Federation – such a decision would be published in the Government Gazette;
- Revoking the privilege of a federation to host and bid for major and mega international tournaments in the Republic and the withdrawal of recognition of the said federations;
- Withdrawal of the federation’s opportunity to be awarded national colours via SASCOC to players who participate under the auspices of that particular federation in order to represent the Republic internationally and nationally;
- Termination of the relationship and any cooperation between SRSA and said federations due to non-compliance;
- Withdrawal of political support and endorsements for sponsorships.
Meanwhile Solidarity said in a statement the implementation of sport quotas in South Africa is in contravention of several international agreements South Africa has signed and ratified. According to Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices it would increasingly appear as if the various sports federations are withholding information pertaining to transformation targets. “It is for this reason that we are bringing the application in terms of PAIA, thereby forcing the ministry and sports federations to disclose information about quota targets that are based on race,” Van der Bijl said.
According to Henk Maree, AfriForum’s national spokesperson, merit should be the only criterion when sports teams are selected. “We are going to use this action to lobby international support and to create awareness about the absurd implementation of quotas in sport in South Africa,” Maree confirmed.
Johan Kruger, deputy chief executive of Solidarity said “although we are still processing all the documentation, it is already clear that the way in which transformation targets are applied in fact comes down to a quota system, something explicitly prohibited by the Constitution, the Employment Equity Act as well as various international sports conventions… We will therefore undoubtedly bring further legal action to put an end the use of quotas in sport.”