Questions Asked: How Is South African Sport Preparing To Re-Design 2020’s Sport? By Cheryl Roberts

12 May

girls rugby barefoot

South African sport has its challenges, negatives and positives. South African sport is also largely white-dominated. South African sport is also about some sports having corporate and broadcast support and most sports struggling for funding to survive. Is the South African sports paradigm seriously tackling re-design of sport to eliminate the negatives, create an environment for sport to be accessible, to be representative of South Africa’s people?
Here are the questions we need to be looking at and answering with effective responses……

. Who is going to lead the re-design of South African sport to take sport into an amazing era in the 2020’s; an era of participation, quality elite performances, elimination of gender barriers, gender discrimination nd inequalities?
. Who is going to challenge for the effective administration and existence of South Africa’s nine provincial government departments of sport? How is the government money and on whom and by whom is the government money allocated for sport, being spent? I’m of the opinion that government departments of sport – national and the nine provincial departments – are not using and allocating the government money effectively to be utilised to grow and develop sport in the provinces and in the country. SA’s sports foundation must be sustained and grow stronger! But how does this get done if the support is not forthcoming, if the foundation and grassroots sport have to be largely supported and maintained by volunteers in sport using their personal money?
. Officials in sport should not serve in a position for longer than one term of four years. I’m not saying you must get out of the sport after four years. I’m saying that after your four year term, you must relinquish that position. This is where the problems and challenges come in. When officials stay around in a position, hold onto it and then claim it as their own as if they own the position and the sport.
. Cabalism is a large part of the challenges facing sports federations and SASCOC. Cabals must be identified, exposed and eliminated. We don’t want cabals controlling our sports federations and SASCOC.
. Post-apartheid South Africa is 26 years old. For how much longer will white-saturated, white-dominated sports teams and white privilege triumph in South African sport? Look at your sport and see how white-dominated is your national senior team. And don’t say you don’t see colour in sport. Of course you see colour. You see the colour of white athletes alright so why can’t and don’t you see the colour of black athletes? Get this! South Africa’s population is majority black, minority white. So how do you explain, in 26 year old post-apartheid SA, you are still a white representative national sports team? Its because you are allowing white privilege to survive.

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. South African sport, through SASCOC, must answer for South Africa’s representative on the Internaional Olympic Committee (IOC). Why is South African Anand Singh on the IOC? Who got him there? Anand Singh has never been known to be a sports official in a South African sports federation. We don’t know him to be associated with sport yet he is there on the IOC. This is despicable! Why was this allowed and by whom? Whomever supported Anand Singh to be on the IOC is clearly not preserving South African sport interests. Anand Singh does not represent SA on the IOC nor is he there for South African sport.
. Why has non-racialism been kicked out of our thinking of advancing South African society, of being our philosophy of organising sport? Why is a coloured-led cabal taking root in SA sport and wanting control of SASCOC? And why are white-dominated sports aligning their sports federations with this coloured-led cabal? Do you not want to have confidence in black leadership in SA sport?
. I’ve written about this extensively – about the struggles of black and working class girls and women – in sport. Why can’t there be a national fund established, initiated by government, together with corporates to assist struggling sportswomen?
. Do national sports federations have a plan to eliminate gender discrimination and gender inequalities in sport? Why is sport still men-dominated? Why do men and boys get most of the provincial and national championships and international events? Why are women in sport and sportswomen still marginalised and getting the crumbs in sport?

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. I understand the struggles of organising sport in an unequal society like South Africa. I know the battles to secure funding and sponsorship for most sports. We value the sports officials who serve sport. But we must understand our roles, responsibilities, our service and contribution. Are we really in sport for our personal interests, to serve a cabal and get some kick backs, to get a monthly payment and perks? Do we really want to re-design sport representation to reflect South African society that is black majority and white minority? Do we honestly understand the authenticity of transforming and redeploying the South African sports network?

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Zanele Situ: Paralympic champion and medallist


I’ve asked the questions. And I know that asking questions is easy. Let’s look at finding the answers to take South African sport forward, onto higher levels of organisation. Let’s not be afraid to clear out the unneeded and unnecessary baggage that wears us down, that is not worth carrying into the 2020’s. Let’s not be afraid to question officials in sport, to challenge government departments of sport, to eliminate cabals and those seeking to control sports federations and SASCOC. Let’s develop girls, boys, women and men in sport with the same amounts of energy, commitment, resources and funds. Let’s propose to clear out the negatives and slowly overhaul all that must be overhauled.

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SA International Cricketer Temba Bavuma (photo by Cheryl Roberts)

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