Kick prejudice out, not talent

2011-11-19 12:50

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has announced the scrapping of quotas in South African sporting codes.

Mbalula correctly laments failures of the system, but in scrapping them he fails to show appreciation for why they came to being in the first place or say what will happen to bridge the gap that caused the need for quotas.

He stated the obvious when he said sport was about talent. By this, the minister infers that the call for the inclusion of black players means that they should be in teams regardless of their abilities. It is the same argument repeated by opponents of employment equity who choose to propagate the myth that this policy is about employing individuals for their skin colour even if they are patently not qualified for the job.

It is shocking in the extreme that a minister deployed by the governing ANC would reduce the call for the inclusion of all South Africans to sporting codes to the belief that such individuals need not be talented.

Sport is and will always be about talent. We would have expected that, given his political background, Mbalula would appreciate that in many sporting codes the exclusion of the majority has not been about whether they are talented but rather because of the prejudices of those dominating the sport.

That, rather than the gratuitous desire to see blacks in codes they were dismal at, was the reason why codes came into being.

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