Party takes Mbalula, Saru to court in bid to stop Springboks

Fikile Mbalula
Fikile Mbalula
Denvor de Wee

Johannesburg - A little-known political party is dragging Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and the SA Rugby Union (Saru) to court on Tuesday to try and stop the Springboks from competing in the rugby World Cup next month.

The Agency for New Agenda party, formerly known as South Africa First, and its president Edward Mahlomola Mokhoanatse, will be in the North Gauteng High Court seeking an urgent order to compel Saru and sports department officials to surrender their passports so they cannot travel.

It also wants the court to order “the executive” to establish a “judicial commission of inquiry into the lack of transformation in South African rugby”.

In his affidavit, Mokhoanatse says the court action is a “public duty to defend our Constitution and to consign to the rubbish bin of history all vestiges and remnants of racial bigotry, racial exclusion and discrimination”.

He says although much has been done to transform the country, “some citizens resist such transformation and continue to practise activities, acts and conduct that are premised on unfair discrimination based on ... race”.

He adds that the national rugby team’s selection criteria are “racially exclusionary” and biased in favour of whites.

He adds that Mbalula has failed to transform rugby and any argument Saru presents to justify its failure to transform the sport should “be treated with disdain”.

Mokhoanatse says Saru has betrayed the “trust of millions of South Africans who have entrusted the responsibility over the past 21 years to an organisation that clearly is unwilling and continues to resist change”.

“The participation of the non-representative and racially exclusionary national team of South Africa in favour of the minority section of the country’s population in the rugby World Cup is inconsistent with our Constitution and ought not to be permitted to represent South Africa,” he writes.

“The continued administration of South African rugby by both [Mbalula and Saru] ... constitutes an affront to the values of the Constitution; that their collective dismal failure to change and transform rugby ... should be regarded as an aberration, gross mismanagement, incompetence and ineptitude that should attract the severest of sanctions possible.”

The matter will be heard by Judge Ntendeya Mavundla.

Spokesperson for the department of sport and recreation, Esethu Hasane, yesterday said that the department would defend the court summons on Tuesday.

“It is imperative for all South Africans to support the national team,” he said

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