The Springboks will be in Cape Town on Friday and are set to touch base in Parliament as part of their nationwide tour, but not everybody is pleased.
This emerged on Thursday when the parliamentary programme committee heard that the Springboks would be received by MPs and management between 9.30am and 10.30am before heading to the Grand Parade, with some political parties saying that other sporting codes had not set foot in the parliamentary precinct.
The secretary to Parliament, Xolile George, said: “We have identified the front entrance stairs of the NCOP (National Council of Provinces) as a designated point of receiving them.
The buses will drop them off at the lower gate and then they will access the NCOP.”
He said they would restrict access to the public given the limited space in the precinct.
National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said they intended to present the Springboks with a bust of Madiba since they would not be able to take photos at the statue in front of the National Assembly.
“We should accept and respect the fact that they saw it necessary as they tour the country that they should come and pay their respects in Parliament.
“I am sure one of the things they had in their mind was that there is the Madiba bust in front of the National Assembly, even though it is cordoned off,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.
UDM deputy leader Nqabayomzi Kwankwa noted with concern that the Springboks were the only national team celebrated when they achieved world honours.
“What you guys are doing on our behalf is very wrong. This thing keeps on repeating itself as if Parliament only recognises the Springbok as the only national team of this country, which is wrong,” Kwankwa said.
In 2019, Parliament also received the AmaBokoboko after their World Cup victory.
Kwankwa said Banyana Banyana won the African Nations Cup for Women last year but they weren’t brought to the national legislature to be feted.
“Why must this Parliament always make special arrangements?” he said.
“I accept and acknowledge the achievements of the Springboks. We are proud of the players but what this Parliament is doing is wrong.
“We always set time for ourselves to celebrate the Springboks but we make no time or effort to celebrate other sporting codes when they do well.
“We cannot allow that in our name. It is wrong. It is something that you must correct,” Kwankwa said.
IFP chief whip Narend Singh said: “I agree with Honourable Kwankwa that we must treat all our sportsmen and women fairly even if there are individuals that make us proud on the international stage.”
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina clarified that they had linked up with Banyana Banyana upon their win, but they had a hectic programme.
“At that time we had, I think, two or three days in session. They were not available. We take note, that let us treat all sporting codes equally,” Majodina said.
House chairperson Cedric Frolick said the Springbok visit to Parliament was not initiated by the institution, but by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture together with SA Rugby.
“I think what must happen in terms of all other sporting codes that achieve success, there must be some guidelines put in place on how we deal with it,” Frolick said.
“Certainly, it is a great honour for Parliament to receive the four-time world champions.
“It is that type of courtesy that we extend not only to sporting teams but other individuals and organisations who out of their own request they want to come.
“We can’t close our door to our world champions,” Frolick said.