Los­ing faith in SA be­cause of the racial spats

CityPress - - Sport -

Hen­drik Bo­den­stein Pre­to­ria I am, 98% of the time, ab­so­lutely op­ti­mist about our in­fant, yet old coun­try. How­ever, the com­bi­na­tion of Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula’s petty de­cree and Matthew The­unis­sen’s big­oted rant made me lose faith for a sec­ond.

I share the govern­ment’s greater goal of achiev­ing pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion on all lev­els. Busi­ness, ed­u­ca­tion, land own­er­ship, public ser­vice and sport. I do, how­ever, not agree with the meth­ods em­ployed. To achieve a true rain­bow na­tion in a holis­tic sense, the mis­rep­re­sented de­mo­graph­ics should be en­cour­aged and em­pow­ered to de­velop the re­quired skills and knowl­edge nec­es­sary.

This has to start on a pri­mary level to prop­erly and with­out prej­u­dice evolve to each in­di­vid­ual’s ul­ti­mate abil­ity. A pro­gramme where peo­ple are dumped into the sys­tem at a higher level than they are cur­rently ca­pa­ble of or com­fort­able with, is not a sus­tain­able project. It is un­fair to those “em­pow­ered” be­cause they are rushed through the chan­nels to win­dow-dress the “trans­for­ma­tion” at­tempts.

Hav­ing said that, I do not ever want to take some­thing away or of­fend those who are ab­so­lutely ca­pa­ble and, in a lot of cases, ex­celling the ex­pected out­come.

I ap­plaud them for achiev­ing and ex­ceed­ing their goals in sit­u­a­tions I can­not even imag­ine.

Min­is­ter Mbalula at­tempts to force trans­for­ma­tion on to two sports dis­ci­plines that are not only not favoured by black African South Africans, but also sim­ply not of­fered at tra­di­tional “black schools”. Nei­ther the nec­es­sary skills nor the love for the game are nur­tured in those com­mu­ni­ties. This prob­lem should not be solved by rush­ing and push­ing in­ad­e­quately pre­pared in­di­vid­u­als to meet de­mo­graph­ics in an un­re­al­is­tic time frame.

Our coun­try has an in­fi­nite amount of tal­ent, but only with proper and timeous devel­op­ment can we pro­duce more of the ex­cep­tional black and brown African rugby and cricket play­ers that we al­ready have.

The ath­let­ics sit­u­a­tion on the other hand is 100% the re­sult of con­tin­u­ous mis­man­age­ment by the min­is­ters and di­rec­tors-gen­eral of sport from pretty much all re­cent Cab­i­nets, Ath­let­ics SA’s (ASA’s) con­stant in­fight­ing and in­com­pe­tence and Sas­coc’s non­cha­lant at­ti­tude to­wards ath­letes.

The track, cycling and long dis­tance events are dom­i­nated by ath­letes of colour, but they re­tire far too early be­cause of the lack of sup­port from their gov­ern­ing bod­ies. White African ath­letes ex­cel in field and wa­ter-based events, purely based on ex­po­sure to it and un­wa­ver­ing sup­port from par­ents and fam­ily.

This sup­port is of­ten also of the fi­nan­cial kind and re­sults in them con­tin­u­ing the sport for longe, even though ASA, Sas­coc and the depart­ment ei­ther pro­vide the same in­ad­e­quate fi­nan­cial sup­port or, in many cases, cut fund­ing al­to­gether.

The rash de­ci­sion to “ban” ASA, Saru and Cricket SA from host­ing in­ter­na­tional events not only neg­a­tively af­fects those bod­ies and their re­spec­tive ath­letes, but causes ir­repara­ble harm to the depart­ment of sport and its abil­ity to over­see and gov­ern sport in our coun­try.

It is sim­ply il­log­i­cal to hold the man­age­ment, ath­letes, staff and fans ran­som to “achieve” an ideal that can­not be re­alised with suc­cess. An agenda like this lacks longevity and, more im­por­tantly, com­mon sense.

Now, on to Matt The­unis­sen’s ap­palling re­marks. I can ab­so­lutely un­der­stand his frus­tra­tion with the “ban”. It does not how­ever grant him carte blanche to spew ig­no­rant, hate­ful and dam­ag­ing words. The k-word used is a in­tol­er­a­ble term al­ready ac­tion­able in court since 1976. It has no place in our so­ci­ety and is al­ways in­ex­cus­able.

Min­is­ter Mbalula re­marked that Mr The­unis­sen is young and that he “gob­bled up” such terms dur­ing his youth. This I find most trou­bling.

Matt is roughly the same age as me. I de­spise the word. He, clearly, does not. The trou­bling thing about this is that youths across the coun­try from all races and so­cial classes, are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly in­tol­er­ant to who they per­ceive as the “en­emy” to their in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive suc­cesses.

The­unis­sen should be pun­ished, like ev­ery­one act­ing the way he did as well as ev­ery­one spew­ing hate from the op­po­site side.

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

UNTRANSFORMED Net­ball is one of those sports that were found to have failed the trans­for­ma­tion test

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