Sunday Tribune

Post needs more than just a marksman


WHILE the shifting of portfolios in President Jacob Zuma’s midnight cabinet reshuffle may be a welcome relief for the sports ministry, I can’t say the same for the police ministry.

Motor-mouth minister Fikile Mbalula now heads a public unit that requires more than a marksman.

Under his watch, he banned sports federation­s from hosting or bidding to stage internatio­nal events for not adhering to transforma­tion policies.

Those affected were Athletics SA, Cricket SA , Netball SA and the SA Rugby Union.

During his tenure, he has handled many issues in a maladroit manner, clod-hopping from one controvers­y to another.

Chief among these were the $10million Fifa World Cup scandal and Durban’s inability to host the 2022 Commonweal­th Games after being awarded the spectacle.

How does he feel about our latest gold-medal export, 100m sprint star Akani Simbine, who beat a star-studded field in Doha, Qatar?

Former world champions Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell were beaten by the SA prodigy who is destined for Olympic gold.

He has his sights firmly set on the diamond league meetings which his own country is barred from hosting.

Netball has grown in leaps and bounds over the years, with the Brutal Fruit Premier League producing exports like Bongi Msomi and Karla Mostert.

SA is currently ranked No 1 in Africa and among the top five in the world in the sport.

Historical­ly, cricket and rugby were the domain of privileged whites. With the right opportunit­ies, talent-scouting programmes, school and youth developmen­t and academies, the playing fields are gradually being altered to meet race quotas.

Upon closer inspection, I notice that the swimming federation was not banned. Yet Penny Heyns, Chad Le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh brought in Olympic medals and they were not black.

SA and Mbalula basked in the glory. It is possible Mbalula was lenient with the federation because blacks have not favoured competitiv­e swimming.

He was a mascot for Safa, but they could not qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

But all is not doom and gloom for the new man at the helm. Thulas Nxesi has already begun talks with the SA Rugby Union about hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup. This augurs well for the sport.

Perhaps I can best sum up this sporting conundrum in the words of Afriforum chief executive Kallie Kriel: “The enforcemen­t of racial quotas and political interferen­ce in South African sport directly violates the rules and regulation­s of internatio­nal sports bodies.” KEVIN GOVENDER Shallcross

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