Inequality in sport sponsorship – Youth League

2013-02-23 16:44

The recent bail hearing of paralympian Oscar Pistorius has highlighted the inequality within the sporting fraternity and society, the ANC Youth League has said.

“While the country continues to mourn the life of Reeva Steenkamp and is kept focused on the unfolding events in court, one would have to be blind to miss the privilege and wealth of Pistorius that is a consistent undertone running throughout the hearing,” spokesperson Khusela Sangoni-Khawe said today.

She said it was evident through his assets confirmed by the court, the preferential treatment he received by being kept at the Brooklyn police station instead of the prison, and the bail conditions.

She said these were consistent with Pistorius’s stature as a successful and accomplished sportsman.

“South Africa’s racial history is such that the minority in this country continue to reap the benefits of years of oppression of the black majority through continuing and exclusive access to training facilities, the best coaches, sponsorship deals and many other privileges open only to the white minority and not the black majority.”

Sangoni-Khawe said black athletes such as Caster Semenya and Khotso Mokoena were faced with difficult circumstances on a daily basis and could “only dream about the wealth of Pistorius.”

When asked if his wealth was not attributed instead to his paralympian status, Sangoni-Khawe said: “There are a number of other athletes who also have disabilities. He is not the only one with disabilities”.

She said white athletes had support and funding while growing up and they still enjoyed this today. “This inequality is along racial lines and even now business continues to perpetuate that inequality.”

She said Pistorius was only an example.

“Business needs to ensure that there is greater equality in how they spread out their sponsorship opportunities among the athletes in this country,” Sangoni-Khawe said.

Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine’s Day.

The decision to keep him at the Brooklyn police station was made by Magistrate Desmond Nair on February 15, during Pistorius’ first court appearance, when lawyers from his defence and the State agreed this would allow for consultation over the weekend.

Nair admitted he was concerned it could be seen as preferential treatment, but allowed it ahead of the bail hearing on Monday.

That Friday afternoon, NPA spokesman Medupe Simasiku said despite his global celebrity status, Pistorius would not be getting any special treatment behind bars.

“We believe that it is fair for the accused (Pistorius) so that he can meet with his defence. It is noted that when an accused is kept at a prison there are no after hours visits, whether from the legal team or the family.”

Yesterday, after eight nights in police custody and four days in court, Pistoruis’s bail application was granted.

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