Happy Ntshingila (left), the chairperson of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Transformation in Sport, hands over the report to Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa, with department DG Alec Moemi looking on. Photo: Department of Sport and Recreation

PRETORIA – Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa has adopted a more sober outlook about transformation, and unlike one of her predecessors, won’t be banning any federations nor withholding their right to bid for international events.

Xasa spoke on Tuesday at the release of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Transformation in Sport in 2017/18, and reflected on what was an overall improvement from various federations regarding their transformation targets.

However, she also outlined the difficult task those federations and the Ministry face as they try to drive transformation.

Of the big five sports – rugby, football, netball, cricket and athletics – only the latter was admonished by Xasa and the EPG, and will have to meet with her to explain why only 10% of the targets Athletics SA set themselves were achieved.

Xasa said she was “disappointed” with ASA, and will demand that it present her “with their plan on how they intend to address this pertinent matter, and for them to share with us their commitments, thinking and plans”.

Among the other major federations, who a few years ago were sanctioned by Fikile Mbalula over their failure to adhere to targets, all exceeded the targets they had set for themselves in conjunction with the EPG.

Nevertheless, Xasa outlined that some federations had set targets that were extremely low, knowing they could easily be achieved.

And when the Transformation Charter – signed by all the federations – is reviewed over the next 12 months, those federations will be required to submit revised targets more in line win the demands of transformation.

Reviewing development structures from school level has proved to be very difficult once again, with the EPG committee member Dr Willie Basson – who presented the data analysis on Tuesday – saying that only former Model C schools have submitted figures for sports participation.

The report noted that “less than 10% of the 25 000 schools in the country participate in formally organised school sport”.

That presents sports like rugby, netball and cricket, who are so reliant on schools for the initial contact with their particular codes, with potentially huge problems as they draw up new development initiatives to comply with the new Transformation Charter.

Once more, the EPG outlined the need for sports federations to take transformation more seriously as a means to sustain themselves, with Xasa highlighting the country’s changing racial demographics.

“The current statistics indicate that 84% of all under 18-year-old South Africans are black Africans. This is a significant segment of our youth populace, and it’s growing rapidly. Currently, this population group and segment seems to be ignored in the development plans of some National Federations,” said Xasa.

“There has been an incongruent focus on only the 16% white, Indian or coloured segment. This in itself is a ‘ticking time-bomb’.

“It raises serious challenges relating to sustainability of these National Federations. The key answer to provide is, where will they get players in the future if they continue to ignore the black African child?”


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