Safa faces the gender commission

2012-04-01 07:21

The South African Football Association (Safa) will this week appear before the Commission for Gender Equality to answer questions on their low targets and slow pace in addressing gender transformation.

The matter was referred to the commission by the South African Women’s Football Association (Sawfa), a former Safa associate member.

The hearing will take place at the commission’s offices on Kotze Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Thursday.

This is where public and private sector heads account for the gender imbalances at their institutions.

The women’s association accuses Safa of disbanding them in 1999 and since then refusing to reinstate them as an associate member.

Sawfa deputy president Molegadi Molelekoa said: “We have been trying to reach out, but they have snubbed us. All they did was to give some of our members jobs as a strategy to silence us.

“We have grave concern over football’s gender equity; it has not changed much. It’s actually very alarming.”
Molelekoa said women’s football was caught between a rock and a hard place.

“Men come in and take over the coaching positions. Our women are not considered for high positions in football structures. The parity in salaries is embarrassing. It’s just a shame. Safa is doing nothing to promote women’s football,” she said.

Since its formation in 1992, Safa has had only one woman as an acting CEO, Pinky Lehoko, who occupied the position between February and July last year.

Only one women’s national team, the SA Under-20 is coached by a woman – Sheryl Botes – while the senior women’s team, Banyana Banyana, and the Under-17 national team are coached by men, Joseph Mkhonza and Greg Mashilo, respectively.

Anna Monate, who guided Banyana to the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) title as a caretaker coach in 2008, has been overlooked.

Molelekoa added that women’s football had always been undervalued and discriminated against.

The Safa NEC is made up of 32 members, two of whom are women – Nomsa Mahlangu, the only elected female member, and Mato Madlala, who was seconded by the PSL, which is a special member of Safa.

“We want the gender commission to investigate the degree of exploitation. South Africa’s legislation has helped encourage a change in approach, but the disparity at Safa is a serious concern,” she said.

Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said they were compiling a document that would be presented to the commission on Thursday.

Last month City Press revealed huge disparities between what female soccer players earned as opposed to their male counterparts.

We revealed that the 18 Banyana Banyana players received a R500 000 bonus to share among them for their feat of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

This translates to about R28 000 each, while Bafana Bafana players receive a R45 000 win bonus each per match.

At the hearing, Safa will have to provide:

» A report on the number of sexual harassment cases within the past five years and how they were resolved;

» Information on Safa membership requirements;

» Detailed information to prove that programmes have been formulated and implemented to support and uplift women’s football;

» Evidence regarding funding, sponsorships and/or any attempts to solicit to support women’s football;

» Information on transformation of structures to ensure that there is equitable representation of women footballers since 1997;

» Reasons for the termination of Sawfa’s membership;

» Information on any policy/ies that promotes gender equality in South African football;

» A list of achievements made in the attainment of gender transformation within the organisation;

» Details of the gaps and challenges they have encountered with regard to the support for women and men’s football;

» The Safa Employment Equity Plan

» Any support programmes that they give to professional women footballers during their soccer careers; and

» Information on what percentage is allocated or spent towards the advancement of the interests of women’s football.

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