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Court bid to have sport transformation plans revealed

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula

Published Nov 11, 2016

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Pretoria - Trade union Solidarity and civil rights organisation AfriForum will head to court to force Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to reveal the planned transformation targets in cricket, athletics, netball and rugby.

The minister earlier this year announced that sport codes not achieving transformation targets would no longer be permitted to host international sport events.

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He singled out the four sporting bodies, which he said, did not meet the transformation requirements. An application was this week served on the minister in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act to force him to hand over the memoranda of agreements concluded with the four sporting bodies.

Antonie van der Bijl, of Solidarity, said in an affidavit that the minister announced in April that his department would revoke the privileges of the four sporting bodies to host or bid for major and mega international tournaments as they were failing to meet certain pre-set transformation targets.

Van der Bijl said it appeared from this that the pre-set transformation targets were derived from the conclusion of certain memoranda of agreement between the minister and these sporting bodies. This set out the goals and targets to be achieved over a five-year period of each sporting body. “The targets agreed to and the memoranda in which they are contained are not in the public domain,” Van der Bijl said.

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According to him, the nature of the agreement reached, targets set and the punitive measures for non-compliance thus remained under wraps. He said this information should be in the public domain to gain an understanding and to evaluate the lawfulness of the targets set. Solidarity asked for these documents on June 30, but the minister’s office asked for a 30-day extendension to consider the matter. But to date no such documents have been handed over.

Van der Bijl said they were told that the national federations were not in favour of releasing the information as they felt the agreement contained a confidentiality clause which should be respected.

He said these policies should be made available for public consumption and not remain under wraps, particularly in circumstances where the public has a keen interest in lawful transformation measures.

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“The sporting bodies, when concluding an agreement of this nature with the minister or his department, were not acting privately but rather in a public capacity.

Van der Bijl said athletes and other sports persons had an interest in knowing the transformation objectives imposed on or agreed to by the sporting bodies that represent them. Supporters of the various sports also have an interest, especially if the minister is barring these sporting bodies from hosting sporting events.

The minister and the sporting bodies must still file replies.

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