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:
I'm 100% behind Fikile Mbalula on penalizing Cricket and Rugby in SA!!! It’s been over 20yrs n still not enough black people in these teams!
— Matiba Sibanyoni (@matibax) April 26, 2016
Mbalula's decision is probably two decades late. The ANC has incentivised the exclusion of black people in SA.
— Ndiyangqukuza (@LoyisoSidimba) April 26, 2016
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:
So people wanted Fikile Mbalula to pat sports federations on the back and say yes guys you doing well…
— Sure Kamhunga (@SureKamhunga) April 26, 2016
‘What's the difference between #Apartheid and #Transformation?’
Criticising the ban, Noxolo wrote:
— Noxolo (@noxyraa) April 26, 2016
The term township in South Africa usually means underdeveloped urban living areas predominantly occupied by non-white South Africans.
John Thorpe simply asked:
— Mr. John Thorpe (@JohnThorpe999) April 26, 2016
Adrian said winning in sports in more important than color:
— Adrian (@GUNNERS28) April 26, 2016
‘Trying to shift blame again’
The government needs to take responsibility for the lack of diversity, Kalubi argued:
— Kalubi (@KalubiTapalo) April 26, 2016
LesetjaMO asked the minister:
Ok. Mbalula can cry loudest about transformation but if his Govt refuses to build sport facilities in villages, how will we transform sport?
— LesetjaMO (@MoLesetja) April 26, 2016
By not hosting global sporting event, David Küsel thought there will be negative impact on the economy:
— David Küsel (@david_kusel) April 26, 2016
‘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.
— Lethabo Sekele (@LethaboSekele) April 26, 2016
Shimmy called for fairness in transformation:
But @BafanaBafana only has one white player dean furman is this transformation one sided ? We need white players in football also.My mbalula
— shimmy (@shimmy_fbi) April 26, 2016
However, others pointed out that Bafana Bafana reflects South Africa racial composition. Max Africa said one white soccer player is more than enough:
— MaxAfrica (@MaxAfrika) April 26, 2016
— MaxAfrica (@MaxAfrika) April 26, 2016