Sport Quotas

Sixth transformation report calls for equity to go hand in hand with equality in South African sport

By Yanga Sibembe 24 April 2019

Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA), Ms Tokozile Xasa and Chairperson of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) Transformation in Sport Mr Happy Ntshingila, briefing members of the media at the sixth release of the EPG Report. EPG Transformation status Report is a report status document that annual announces Transformation targets set by various Federations on whether they have delivered and achieved on their own set targets entered into an agreement with the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa. Media briefing held at Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria, 23 April 2019. Photo: GCIS/Flickr

The Department of Sport and Recreation has released its sixth report on transformation in South African sport. The report laid out how sports federations in South Africa are progressing in the bid to ensure that transformation begins to happen at grassroots level.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa and Chairperson of the Eminent Persons Group Happy Ntshingila headed an event in Pretoria on Tuesday, 23 April unpacking progress on transformation in sport in South Africa. The report was the sixth since 2011.

The review of whether sport federations have met transformation targets is monitored by the independent Eminent Persons Group, which releases the report. The group is responsible for ensuring the sport ministry has adequate information to assess transformation in sport across the country.

The federations were set a 50% mark for targets set out in the transformation charter, as well as targets they had set for themselves.

Failure to achieve this 50% mark could result in penalties such as suspension, withdrawal of government funding and the rights to bid for international tournaments revoked,” said Eminent Persons Group member Willie Basson.

Of the “big five” federations (football, cricket, netball, rugby and athletics), Athletics South Africa (ASA) performed the worst in meeting targets for the second year running, achieving a paltry 31% for its self-set targets.

Minister of Sport and Recreation, Tokozile Xasa said they would “engage them (ASA) to chart a way forward”.

Xasa said the long-term aim of transformation was to redress “the injustices of the past” where black South Africans were prohibited from participating in national sports during the apartheid era. The way to do this would be by increasing opportunities for participation for black South Africans, improving performance and ensuring accurate demographic representation in sport.

The minister pointed out that the demographic profile as at mid-year 2018, according to StatsSA, was an overall population of 57.7-million, with black Africans making up 46.7-million (80.9%); coloured – 5.1-million (8.8%); whites – 4.5-million (7,8%); Indian/Asian – 1.4-million (2,5%).

Xasa also pointed out that “84% of all under 18-year-old South Africans are black Africans” while lamenting the tendency of stakeholders in sport to “focus on only the 16% white, Indian or coloured segment” of the population.

Xasa lauded the progress made by various federations in these mandatory charter categories: The number of black presidents of national federations (63%), representation of blacks on the boards of national federations (62%), the appointment of black CEOs (53%), and the election of women on the boards of national federations (47%).

Basson said the general quality of data collection and reliability from the federations had improved over the past five years, but that there were still issues with data collection at school-level sport.

He said they had only managed to obtain data from “1,800 schools; in 24,000 schools, data is unknown”. The schools that data was successfully obtained from were “former model C schools” said Basson.

Speaking on transformation in school sports Xasa, said:

School sport remains a major factor that impacts on the rate and extent of transformation. It is the bedrock of our entire development continuum and a necessary foundation to aid us to achieve this momentous task.

To support longer-term sport planning initiatives, we need to consciously invest in school sport to increase the pipeline of our sporting codes. It is for this reason that 40% of our conditional grant to all the nine provinces is ring-fenced for school sports initiatives including leagues and support in the form of playing equipment and attire as well as competitions.”

According to the report, nine of the 19 audited federations achieved 50% or more in the transformation charter mandated targets. They are football (89%), volleyball (67%), table tennis (67%), amateur boxing (61%), cricket (61%), basketball (56%), softball (50%), athletics (50%) and netball (50%). On the opposite side of the spectrum, jukskei (6%) bowls (0%) and rowing (0%) were the worst performing.

In terms of the self-set targets, eight federations scored 50% or more. They are table tennis (76%), football (73%), gymnastics (73%), tennis (65%), rugby (60%), cricket (59%), netball (54%), baseball (50%). Amateur boxing (10%), bowls (no data) and rowing (no data) were the worst-performing federations in this section.

Director-General of Sport and Recreation Alec Moemi said the quota system had done away with because it was seen as “too rigid”. Furthermore, he said that it created problems as it could be easily circumvented by federations.

He said under the quota system, players would be chosen just to satisfy the quota, but their participation was not guaranteed. Under the sport charter and transformation report guidelines, the department can assess tangible results in the form of “game time and matches”.

With the targets set in the transformation report, the department was looking for a “long-term, as well sustainable” solution to achieving transformation, whereas the quota system was a “quick fix”.

Moemi said as much they were driving towards equality, this “equality must be followed by equity”. He pointed out the differences with regard to facilities in former model C schools versus facilities in schools located in black communities, as well pointing out potential differences in conditioning and nutrition among black athletes compared with their white counterparts.

The DG said that it was not only the job of the government to ensure that transformation was achieved but was the responsibility of all South Africans.

Moemi also called on national federations to take responsibility for all tiers of the sport they govern, and that even though no federation is forced to participate, there would be consequences should they choose not to participate in this transformation movement. DM

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