‘Beast’ a true SA cit­i­zen

Weekend Witness - - Front Page -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — Sharks prop Tendai Mtawarira, also known as Beast, has been granted South African cit­i­zen­ship and will now be el­i­gi­ble to play for the na­tional rugby team, the Sports Min­istry said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

“The min­istry con­grat­u­lates the Beast on his be­com­ing a South African cit­i­zen, as well as the South African Rugby Union for ac­quir­ing his ser­vices,” Sports Min­is­ter Makhenkesi Stofile said.

He now qual­i­fies for se­lec­tion to the na­tional team.

Mtawarira was born in Zim­babwe and moved to SA shortly af­ter fin­ish­ing school. He made his de­but for South Africa in 2008.

In Novem­ber last year, Stofile ac­cused sports fed­er­a­tions of not re­spect­ing South African laws by choos­ing for­eign­ers to rep­re­sent na­tional teams.

In an ad­vert placed in sev­eral news­pa­pers, the min­istry said it was not good enough for Mtawarira to have been is­sued with an ex­cep­tional skills visa.

It ac­cused the SA Rugby Union (Saru) of “vul­gar­is­ing” the con­cept of ex­cep­tional or scarce skills. The min­istry said sports fed­er­a­tions could ap­ply for work per­mits for a limited num­ber of for­eign play­ers or ad­min­is­tra­tors, but only if such ap­pli­ca­tions were com­pellingly mo­ti­vated.

Saru met with the Sports Depart­ment to sort out Mtawarira’s el­i­gi­bil­ity to play for South Africa, but the is­sue was not laid to rest.

Ear­lier this month, rugby se­lec­tors were told Mtawarira would not be el­i­gi­ble to play for the na­tional side un­til he be­came a South African cit­i­zen. — Sapa.

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