Slim majority favour racial quotas in sport

A slim majority of the population favoured racial quotas in national sports teams, a survey by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) has showed.

The results from the South African Social Attitudes Survey (Sasas), conducted annually by the HSRC — said while a slim majority favoured racial quotas, there were still strong racial disparities in the level of support for quotas.

The period 2003 to 2006 was analysed.

The survey found that black South Africans were more than four times as supportive of quotas compared to the white population.

Researchers Ben Roberts and Jarè Struwig said the Springboks’ performance at the 2007 Rugby World Cup had drawn attention to the idea that sport could play a role in strengthening national cohesion and unity.

”Despite the victory however, it is evident that there is discontent with the process of transformation in sport, but also much division on the desirability of sports quotas as a means to fast-tracking transformation,” they said.

The survey found that by late 2006, 55% of South Africans aged 16 and older favoured racial quotas.

Between 2003 and 2004, levels of support for racial quotas dropped, after which they seemed to have fluctuated within a narrow band.

The sample sizes were 4 980 respondents in 2003, 5 583 in 2004, 2 884 in 2005, and 2 939 in 2006.

The smaller samples in 2005 and 2006 were due to the inclusion of the sports quota question in only one of the two versions of the Sasas questionnaire fielded in those years.

Roberts and Struwig said it could be speculated that the decline in support between 2003 and 2004 was a result of the relatively poor performance of SA’s national teams in the 2003 Cricket and Rugby World Cups. – Sapa

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