Sports minister Zizi Kodwa confident Springboks, Proteas can avoid flag, anthem ban at World Cups

The Springboks sing the national anthem ahead of their Rugby World Cup match against Ireland at Stade de France

The Springboks sing the national anthem ahead of their Rugby World Cup match against Ireland at Stade de France. Photo: Philippe Millereau/KMSP via AFP

Published Oct 5, 2023


South Africa’s ministry of sport is confident they will avoid sanction from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ahead of a looming deadline to update the country’s legislation to be in line with the World Anti-Doping Code, officials told Reuters.

South Africa has until October 13 to pass the required amendments, or they may no longer be able to compete under the country’s flag at events, including the on-going rugby and cricket World Cups.

"Government is engaging with WADA in relation to our amendment bill and we will provide an update in due course, but there is no way we will be in a situation where our teams will not play under the South African flag," a sports ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.

Minister of sport Zizi Kodwa said last month the country was committed to making the required amendments to the Act, and that this process is well under way.

"We have worked tirelessly to amend legislation as recommended by WADA," Kodwa said. "There has also been input by WADA in working with us to draft the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) Amendment Bill, which will now be taken through the South African Constitutional process of finalising a Bill.

"The South African Government process for promulgating legislation is thorough and comprehensive. Any legislation, including amendments, must meet the muster of the South African Constitution and cannot contradict or nullify any existing laws."

Other consequences for South Africa falling foul of WADA would be the cessation of funding to SAIDS.

"The overwhelming majority of the non-compliant findings by WADA of our current Act are along the lines of, ‘the definition must be updated to reflect the exact wording in the WADA Code’, or some definition or term in the Act is obsolete and no longer used," SAIDS chief executive Khalid Galant told South Africa’s Daily Maverick newspaper.

"So the noncompliance pertains to the text and has no bearing on the operational ability or jurisdictional mandate of SAIDS."

The new WADA code became effective on January 1, 2021 with South Africa and Bermuda named as two countries who had yet to make the necessary amendments in law.