Losing faith in SA because of the racial spats
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.
UNTRANSFORMED Netball is one of those sports that were found to have failed the transformation test