South Africa’s minister of sport and recreation has banned several sports bodies from bidding on and hosting international events because of their failure to reach their transformation target, which ensures racial diversity on teams.
Fikile Mbalula made the announcement after receiving the results of transformation in sport report for 2014/2015. He said he will review the decision, which targets Athletics South Africa (ASA), Cricket South Africa (CSA), Netball South Africa (NSA) and South African Rugby (Saru), based on the results of the 2016/2017 Transformation Barometer.
In its third year, the report is released every year to sporting bodies and to the public by the Eminent Persons Group on Transformation in Sport.
Under apartheid, the South African system of white minority rule, participation in sports was based on segregation. Mixed sport was not permitted and participation in international competitions was limited only to white South Africans. This led to a international sports boycott of South Africa until the end of apartheid in 1994.
Sports transformation targets for South African sports bodies are meant to correct the injustices in sports caused by apartheid.
The last national census in the country in 2011 shows that black South Africans stood at 79.2%, white at 8.9%, colored (a term for South Africans of mixed ethnic origin) at 8.9%, and Indian or other Asian at 2.5%. The transformation target of national teams in South Africa is 60% black African, Indian and Coloured.
Afriforum, a civil rights organisation which usually defends the rights of Afrikaners, plans to file a complaint with international sports bodies saying that such bodies expressly forbid any form of political interference in sport. Afrikaners are the descendants of Dutch settlers in South Africa who dominated South Africa’s politics before the end of apartheid in 1994.
‘Probably two decades late’
The decision by Minister Mbalula has received mixed reactions on Twitter.
Matiba Sibanyoni and Loyiso Sidimba supported the decision:
ANC refers to the African National Congress, the party of Nelson Mandela which has ruled since the end of apartheid.
Sure Kamhunga asked those who are opposing the ban:
‘What’s the difference between #Apartheid and #Transformation?’
Criticising the ban, Noxolo wrote:
The term township in South Africa usually means underdeveloped urban living areas predominantly occupied by non-white South Africans.
John Thorpe simply asked:
‘Trying to shift blame again’
The government needs to take responsibility for the lack of diversity, Kalubi argued:
By not hosting global sporting event, David Küsel thought there will be negative impact on the economy:
‘We need white players in football also’
Some South Africans wondered why Bafana Bafana, South Africa’s national soccer team, which is predominantly black, has not been transformed.
Shimmy called for fairness in transformation:
However, others pointed out that Bafana Bafana reflects South Africa racial composition. Max Africa said one white soccer player is more than enough