Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa has joined the burgeoning calls for men and women in sporting codes across the board to be paid equally without further delay.
Ramaphosa in welcoming the Banyana Banyana squad to the Union Buildings earlier today thanked the team for delivering on their promise to bring the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations trophy back to the country.
He said the team had reached the pinnacle of women's football on the continent, and persevered despite the difficulty faced by many of them.
"The good news of your win was like rain falling on dry and parched ground. You have through your victory lifted the hearts of our nation in the midst of the many challenges our country faces," Ramaphosa said.
Wafcon winners #BanyanaBanyana at the Union Buildings meeting President Cyril Ramaphosa who praised their achievements and discussed equal pay for men and women. @Banyana_Banyana @PresidencyZA @IOL pic.twitter.com/w8OveRZnpO— Pretoria News (@pretorianews) July 27, 2022
"You have given us reason to put aside our differences, put aside for a while our troubles, our anguish about a number of things like load shedding like Desiree (Ellis) said. We hoped there wouldn't be any load shedding while you were playing."
He said the team had enabled the country to embrace one another which demonstrated the power of sport, as it had managed to unite the 60 million South Africans who were blowing like the wind behind their sails as they faced Morocco.
Team coach Desiree Ellis was thanked once more for withstanding the road to victory through its upsets, injuries and other challenges, as it had also earned her the title of the best African coach in women's football.
Ellis bagged Africa’s Coach of the Year in the women’s football category at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) awards ceremony.
"You are the real role models for our young people, with your victory in Morocco, South Africa has become widely recognised with regard to women's football. We have no doubt you will do us proud next year in the FIFA Women's World Cup we are going with you."
The president added however that celebrating with the team and recognising their hard work should not end at simply clapping hands and waving flags.
"I believe we must do good by you, you have made us proud. You have put South Africa on the map once again not only in relation to women's football but you have put our nation on the map once again, and you do deserve to be recognised."
He added: "We should not only recognise you for clapping for you and flying our flag, we need to do much more. I do believe that you deserve much more now. I've been hearing reports of you getting this much but I have been asking myself is that enough?"
Ramaphosa said he was shocked to learn that the women earned 10 times less than their male counterparts but he believed the women deserved equal pay for the equal work they did when they played.
"I've been told you get 10 times less than what the men get when they play and that has to come to an end, we are a non-racial, non-sexist country. I am hugely opposed to unequal pay and it must come to an end and we must demonstrate our appreciation for you with regard to the pay you should get."