Transformation to gather pace

Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)
Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Transformation in sport in South Africa has been inadequate and poorer than expected, sport minister Fikile Mbalula has said on Wednesday.

"The governance and level of transformation in the bigger sport federations has not been adequate up to now," he told MPs in the National Assembly.

Mbalula was responding to questions on transformation in the country's larger sport federations, including rugby, cricket, and football.

He said a pilot audit of the five biggest sporting federations, conducted last year, "revealed that the level and rate of transformation has been poorer than expected".

He was currently holding meetings with these sporting codes.

"I've already met three, including rugby, cricket and football.

"I'm also going to meet athletics and netball.

"I can assure you we are doing everything possible, through an integrated programme... to ensure equity access and demographical spread within sport in South Africa, across all sporting codes."

Later this year, 16 sport federations were set to report to him on the status of transformation "from national, to provincial and school level".

His department was implementing a clear and scientific programme of action.

"We're no longer talking about mainly emphasising quotas, we're talking of an integrated process.

"Our approach to transformation is bottom up.

"We're not only looking at the national teams, we're looking at development versus high performance, and how the two are going to assist us to realise full transformation in South Africa."

Mbalula vowed he would not compromise on this.

"This government will not compromise on transformation. It is absolutely non-negotiable," he said to loud applause.

"We are going to pursue transformation.

"Not half-heartedly (or) half baked, but integrated.

"In the next 20 years, in terms of the sports plan programme we have adopted, we will not only be talking about quotas, we will be talking of the impact of the plan we have implemented."

Transformation in sport was going ahead.

"For those who think we are on the retreat, and we are not going to implement transformation, it is there.

"Everybody has agreed."

Mbalula said "in the next couple of weeks", agreements would be signed with all sporting codes in South Africa, defining their commitment to transformation.

"There will never be a complaint about who is on the bench and not able to play.

"The question will be: You as a federation, what do you commit yourself to?"

His department was on track with transforming sport.

"Watch this space.

"We are on track in terms of achieving the targets and engaging everybody in South Africa," he said.
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