SA Rugby willing to defend its 'quota stance'

SA Rugby logo (Supplied)
SA Rugby logo (Supplied)

Cape Town - SA Rugby would be willing to defend its transformation policy in court should the need arise.

This comes after trade union Solidarity and civil-rights organisation AfriForum announced earlier this week that they were taking the matter of unbecoming interference in South African sport to court.

In court papers served on Tuesday, the South African Rugby Union (SA Rugby), Cricket South Africa (CSA), Athletics South Africa (ASA) and Netball South Africa (NSA) were challenged to defend their agreed “racial quotas” before the Labour Court.

Solidarity and AfriForum say that the agreed upon quotas do not conform to local and international legislation and agreed upon norms.

An SA Rugby spokesperson told Netwerk24 that the national rugby governing body would be willing to defend its stance in court, while Netball South Africa’s Chief Executive, Blanche de la Guerre, insists they pick their teams on merit.

According to SA Rugby’s strategic transformation plan, 50% of the Springbok team must be made up of players of colour by 2019.

When commenting on the matter, Johan Kruger, Deputy Chief Executive of Solidarity, said: “It is a crying shame that the ANC endorses such strict racial quotas. However, it is not surprising. Local racial laws and international agreements are idle words for the ANC.”

According to Kruger the ANC’s racial ideology has been obvious for a long period of time and the party can no longer hide its racial motives.

“The ANC’s practice of withholding local sportsmen and women of opportunities because of unlawful racial quotas must be condemned by the courts,” Kruger said.

“We request an order that the court declare that the Transformation Charter insofar as it pertains to demographic profiling as invalid, and of no force and effect. We further request that the court declare the agreements between the parties insofar as it pertains to quotas, as invalid and of no force and effect, and that sporting bodies are interdicted from applying quotas in determining team selection at a national, provincial, club or school level,” Kruger continued.

According to Kallie Kriel, Chief Executive of AfriForum, merits should be the only criterion in the compilation of sports teams.

“The enforcement of racial quotas and political interference in South African sport directly violates the rules and regulations of international sports bodies. That is why AfriForum is going to send a delegation to several international sports bodies within the next months,” Kriel said.

AfriForum’s application to be admitted as friend of the court (amicus curiae) will be served shortly on all parties.

While other organisations claim to have targets, Cricket South Africa has an official quota system in domestic franchise cricket which states that teams must pick a minimum of six players of colour in their starting XIs at all times, with three of the six required to be black African players.

The national cricket team, the Proteas, also recently committed to a set criteria.

The Proteas are required to field an average of six players of colour in their starting XIs over the course of a season, while two of those must be black African.

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