Kaymo’s Korner: The transformation talk needs to start walking

2014-04-03 10:00

Is it worth applauding the fact that Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula is dedicating time to the 13-member Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on transformation to deal with this bugbear?

Yes it is. There has been too much mouthing of platitudes with regard to this touchy subject and too little shoulder to the wheel to get it working.

Now that the EPG has sorted out the paperwork, which looks pretty in its glossy magazine, the unenviable job of actually enforcing targets now needs to be tackled with the same amount of vigour Mbalula gives to his speeches.

Knowing how stubborn South African sport can be, cracking the transformation whip will define Mbaks’ tenure as sports minister.

History will judge him as a loser if he fails to redress this nagging issue that has unfortunately sullied the gains made by South Africa in the past 20 years.

It is unfortunate South African sport is still debating transformation in 2014.

But when the full demographics of the country are not fully represented in sports that were formerly, and to a large extent still are, white dominated, codes need to abide by some sort of charter to balance the numbers.

Not doing so is a flagrant display of malice and disrespect. The time for talking – as tough as Mbalula’s gabble might be – is over.

Now the action needs to commence, and fast.

It is no use mentioning the offending parties because they know who they are.

They have taken what they call “steps” to remedy their transformation problems.

Cricket SA has its incentivised transformation policy, where franchises and unions are paid if they field more than two black African players across all formats.

The SA Rugby Union, that bulwark against transformation, has a transformation policy that only extends to the subpar Vodacom Cup, where teams have to field seven players of colour spread on the field and on the bench.

Unfortunately, this enforced transformation does no good.

As things stand, especially with rugby, tournaments like the Varsity Shield will be the ceiling for most talented black African players.

The upper-tier Varsity Cup is just an extension of the colour barrier prevalent in Super Rugby.

There is no initiative from senior age group coaches and administrators to change the game.

They are the real enemies of transformation.

This is the rot that needs to be worked out and it applies to both sports, irrespective of the advances cricket has made.

Rugby has the most to lose because now that it is an Olympic sport, it falls under the statutes of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, which are clear on how to deal with a lack of transformation.

With the legitimacy of the federation at stake, let’s hope transgressors are put to the sword swiftly.

Two decades is just too long a period for sport not to transform.

Lest we forget, South African football has fielded more whites than rugby and cricket put together have included Africans.

That in itself is a disgrace. Mbaks, show them no mercy if they stick to their wicked ways.

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