Pressing Issues: Time for Safa to rope in more women

2013-08-12 10:00

I had fun last week trying to reach all 52 of the SA Football Association (Safa) regions’ presidents.

It was quite a mission and I eventually spoke to 31 of them. I could not reach the others and some did not pick up, which probably had a lot to do with our company’s wisdom of having all our calls reflect as private on call recipients’ screens.

The fun part was an observation I made while going through the list.

For some reason, the Northern Cape, which has five regions, somehow managed to elect one president who goes by the surname Bantu, another is Mr White and there’s even a Mr Afrikaner.

Can you imagine how this sounds at a roll call?

But yes, Pixley ka Seme president is Mar David JL Bantu, the Frances Baard region is headed by Mr Martin Gladwyn White and the Siyanda region has elected Mr Karl Afrikaner as their president.

I had a good laugh about it with Mr Bantu and Mr White, but unfortunately I could not get hold of Mr Afrikaner?.?.?. ?more’s the pity!

Another thing that caught my eye was that all the presidents have one thing in common. All their names were preceded by the title Mr.

Well, aside from the Cape Town president, whose name is preceded by Advocate and his name is Norman Arendse.

Really now? No wonder Safa finds itself continually at loggerheads with the Gender Equality Commission.

Even the chairperson of the portfolio committee on sports, Mzameni Mdakane, took them to task about the absence of women in their delegation the last time they met.

They don’t seem to have taken a cue from government, which started with a 27.75% female representation in the National Assembly after the first democratic election in 1994, but by 2009, that figure had jumped to 43%.

It’s a crying shame that Safa has only two women in their bloated 36-member national executive. Mato Madlala is the only woman in the seven-member Premier Soccer League executive committee.

Even Banyana Banyana – the women’s national team – is coached by a man, Joseph “Skheshekheshe” Mkhonza, who, to his credit, has done extremely well, I must add. In fact, he has done better than any of his predecessors.

Nevertheless, it is high time Safa took a serious look at itself and came up with programmes that will ensure a fair representation of women in their structures.

It wouldn’t hurt if they were to have a woman as one of their four vice-presidents for the first time.

I think they should also look at having it as a prerequisite that, at regional level, either the president or secretary – two of the most powerful positions – must be a woman.

This will be empowerment at its best. How about it folks?

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