Government’s view of sport development is superficial and narrow

2014-04-23 10:00

Fikile Mbalula’s renewed demands as minister of sport for the implementation of socially engineered racial quotas in South African sport is an acknowledgement that government has failed dismally in its duty to develop sport in South Africa.

Real, valid and meaningful development entails more than one or two photo opportunities where selected reporters take pictures of sports stars doling out balls and T-shirts to children.

It is a properly structured and funded long-term plan with buy-in from all stakeholders.

It is one where local governments honour their duty to create recreational and sport facilities for communities. It is where government – through the departments of education and sport – should do its part by establishing, promoting and funding sport in schools, especially in townships and rural areas where many schools are dysfunctional and sport is not practised.

Yet, instead of promoting sport at school, our government has created a bigger lag by eliminating physical education from the curriculum.

Now the minister wants to disguise this failure by demanding a quota system that will be to the detriment of all sportspersons.

The dignity of talented black players is infringed upon because, under a quota system, the presence of every black player in a team is suspected to be by default.

This is tragic as many of these players are hugely talented and committed individuals, and deserve to be selected.

Talented white players are also disadvantaged if they can’t be chosen because the team has to adhere to a rigid racial quota.

But the saddest victims of the quota system are the poor, who are in dire need of access to sporting facilities.

Associations in sporting codes that suddenly have to comply with racial quotas will not enter townships with development programmes overnight to develop black players for inclusion in teams.

This is hard work. They will take the easy route by simply buying promising black players from other provinces.

This means nothing will be done to promote sport in the townships as the minister has provided a readily available and artificially engineered quick fix in the form of the quota system.

It is time for all sports fans to take a stand against a system that does nothing but harm sport in the country. In this particular instance, there is no fence and silence is not neutral.

Silence hands government the right to demand a quota system and the ANC the right to continue interfering in sport.

This is why AfriForum is preparing to lodge an official complaint against the quota system with international sporting federations.

These federations prohibit any form of racial discrimination, and that is exactly what quotas are?–?racial discrimination.

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