SA sportswomen are being ripped off

2014-09-21 15:00

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An embarrassingly huge gap that shows discrimination against women exists in South African sports.

City Press has established that Banyana Banyana players who fly the South African flag get paid a R5?000 win bonus for international matches, while their Bafana Bafana counterparts receive R60?000 each.

In cricket, the Proteas players pocket R46?656 each for a test match, plus a R34?992 win bonus, with female cricketers getting a maximum of R10?000 a match. (See boxes)

No figures were available for rugby as the SA Rugby Union did not respond to the enquiry.

This shocking revelation is contained in an answer from the department of sports and recreation to a question by DA sports and recreation shadow minister Solly Malatsi this week.

In a week in which members of Scotland’s Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews ended a 260-year ban on female members, this could send shock waves through the sporting fraternity.

The 2?400 male members of the club voted overwhelmingly to change what they called “outdated” rules.

The Augusta National Golf Club, which was established in January 1933, only accepted its first female members?–?former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore – in 2012.

Female tennis players won their battle for equal purses on the four grand slams only recently.

As a result, male and female winners of this year’s Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open received $2.65?million (R29?million), $2.1?million, $2.97?million and $3?million each, respectively.

A disappointed Malatsi said he would take up the matter with the relevant authorities.

“It is scandalous that Banyana players, who have won more games than Bafana, and competed in prestigious competition such as the Olympics, have consistently maintained their spot in the top five female national teams on the continent, unlike their male counterparts, are paid peanuts,” he said.

“The pay disparities entrench gender inequality regardless of whether women’s football or cricket in the country is still at amateur level. It also doesn’t reward excellence in football.”

He said the argument from sports federations that women’s sport was still at amateur level compared with their male counterparts did not hold water.

“I’m going to take up this matter with Safa [SA Football Association] because it is unfair,” he said. “They have a number of sponsors and have just clinched a R1?billion deal with Siyaya TV. I hope the money will go to Banyana.”

Hockey players do not get paid for their services to the national teams as the limited sponsor funding covers preparation, travel, meals, equipment and accommodation.

Safa CEO Dennis Mumble acknowledged the discrepancies and sarcastically said he would welcome the DA’s contribution towards funding Banyana.

“Bafana’s commercial value is far higher than that of Banyana. It’s not an ideal situation, but the market dictates that. Hopefully, we will turn things around in the near future,” he said.

Safa executive committee member Nomsa Mahlangu said: “This shows people are paying lip service to female emancipation. Corporate South Africa must start appreciating and investing in women. The sports department and Cabinet also need to pitch in and say that if a sponsor comes into a federation, they must not be exclusive, but cover both genders.”

She said it was obvious that men who sat on company boards gave money to their male peers and ignored women.

Boxing SA chairperson Ntambi Ravele said: “I’m shocked. This is unacceptable. It is great that this has come out in the open and we can now address it. It’s a shame that in 20 years of democracy, we haven’t addressed this gap properly. Those women sitting on sports federation committees need to make their voices heard and say what challenges they face.”

Cricket SA (CSA) chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat said women’s cricket was still in the formative phase of development. “At present, sponsorship and commercial support for women’s cricket is virtually nonexistent. The global and national market for men’s and women’s cricket is incomparable.

“Despite the above, CSA is making strides in developing the game among female cricketers.”

He said the national academy had a full intake of female cricketers for the first time this year and national contracts for female players “went from six to 14”. Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula declined to comment on the matter.

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