Rumpus a dream for legal eagles

2008-05-30 00:00

The row surrounding the racial make-up of the Resolution South Africa men’s hockey team for August’s Olympic Games in Beijing has shown no signs of letting up at the time of writing.

Comments made in Parliament early November last year by Minister of Sport Makhenkesi Stofile and a few days later by President Thabo Mbeki clearly spelt out that the time for quotas in national sports teams was over.

At just about the same time, Tubby Reddy, the high performance manager of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), asked SA women’s captain Marsha Marescia and SA men’s captain Bruce Jacobs how many players of colour would make the respective Olympic teams on merit.

Incidentally, both are players of colour, and their replies were five women and six men. A Sascoc letter of intent was then signed by the SA Hockey Association (Saha) agreeing to the following:

•Men: the final 16 in the men’s team will have at least six to eight players of colour selected on merit.

•Women: the final 16 in the women’s team will have at least five to eight players of colour selected on merit.

Saha president Dave Carr discussed this agreement with the respective coaches and selection convenors of the teams. This quartet addressed the Saha executive, where they indicated they would be able to select the teams with a minimum of six players of colour on merit.

Taking this into account, Saha’s executive ruled by a majority vote that a minimum of six in each side must be selected.

Consequently, Saha received a letter from a concerned hockey group (CHG) within the country that they were not pleased and stated Saha had violated its own transformation policy, which requires a 50-50 split (eight players of colour and eight whites) for the Olympics. To test the sentiment expressed by CHG, Saha sent a letter to its council — the provincial bodies — letting them know of the executive decision and pledging to hold a special council meeting to discuss the “minimum six” issue if they were not in favour of it. Responding provinces were unanimously in favour of “minimum six”.

Thwarted, the CHG took their grievance to Members of Parliament. Carr and certain members of the Saha executive were hauled before, and grilled by, Parliament’s Sports Portfolio Committee under loose-lipped chairman Butana Komphela in Cape Town last week — and the result was that the older brother of 2007 AmaGluglug (SA U23) soccer coach Steve Komphela said he would ask Stofile to force the hockey teams to be split 50-50.

This flies in the face of everything said in Parliament six months ago by Stofile and Mbeki, and the memorandum of understanding between SA Olympic governing body Sascoc and Saha. It also flouts the Olympic Charter and the statutes of hockey’s world governing body the FIH and the South African Constitution.

Pre-Rugby World Cup 2007, Komphela threatened to prevent the selected Springbok team from going to France unless there were more non-whites in the team. He was laughed out of town. In an elegant opinion piece in Thursday’s Witness, Professor of applied ethics Martin Prozesky laid out the perils of Komphela’s hockey argument.

One can almost picture the country’s top legal minds waiting for the phone call from an enraged parent or player that will grant them licence to unleash the dogs of litigious war on Komphela and company.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.