Sports quota law a 'last resort'

Legislation on transformation in sport would be a “last resort”, the sports ministry said on Saturday.

Spokesperson Bongani Majola was reacting to chairperson of Parliament’s sport portfolio committee Butana Komphela’s announcement that the ANC component of the committee intended pushing for a law to compel sports federations and even schools to achieve representativity.

“The ANC is worried about the transformation,” sais Kophela. “It is proposing [legislation] because the voluntary route, not a single federation has accepted. It hasn’t worked, it doesn’t work.”

However Majola said his understanding was that MPs had said they would be prepared to legislate only “if it really comes to a push”.

He said his minister, Makhenkesi Stofile, had not seen any proposals, and the ministry would in any case have to look at how transformation was progressing on the ground.

“It’s a last resort, it really is a last resort as far as we are concerned,” he said.

Komphela’s remarks follow a face-to-face warning earlier this week by committee members to SA Rugby that they were impatient at the slow pace of transformation in that sport.

He said the ANC component’s request for the legislation would go through the director general of sport, the minister and to Cabinet for approval.

A draft of the bill would then come back to the committee for public hearings.

He said the legislation would force all federations to present “something like a charter of transformation” and would include punitive measures if these targets were not achieved.

The punishments could include withdrawal of financial support, refusal of visas for teams heading overseas, and withdrawing the right to use the South African flag and colours.

“When they are not reflective of the democracy of our country, they can’t take anything South African,” he said.

“We want even in schools, when there are school teams, school teams must be a reflection of the school.”

Though the legislation would, given the interruption of local government polls this year, realistically be finalised only next year, it had already been discussed with the director general.

The ANC members had also spoken at a party level to Stofile, who was “sceptical about it”.

However Stofile had said that if the committee wanted the legislation, he would “have to sit down and see what we are intending to address”.

“But in principle he’s not opposed to the portfolio committee calling for legislation,” Komphela said. - Sapa

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