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28 Mar 2008 14:51
In the aftermath of his failure to become the president of the South African Rugby Union (Saru), Mike Stofile said the elections at the annual general meeting held on Friday proved there was no place for black people in South African rugby.
Stofile, the former deputy president of Saru, was the only candidate opposing Oregan Hoskins for the top post in South African rugby.
The final voting count was not declared at the meeting—but there was a recount, just to assure all the parties that there had not been any mistakes in the voting process.
“What happened here today [Friday] is an indictment of what is happening in our country,” said Stofile. “I am not surprised, not really disappointed.
I want you [the media] to see today what is happening.
“I’ve been saying for four years now there is no place for black people in South African rugby and this is the final nail for black people in this country.
“They [black people] have to wake up and see what needs to be done for them to be accommodated in the structures of rugby in this country.
“Black people are not trusted.”
Stofile said he accepted his nomination for the national presidency in the knowledge that he could suffer defeat.
“I was mindful that I could be unsuccessful, but I decided to go to test the waters and I don’t regret it.
“Rugby people think I’ve done enough, and that’s fair, so I’ll go and do some other business.”
Stofile’s parting shot was that the government should intervene in rugby. “I don’t believe rugby should sort out its own problems.”
With Stofile no longer serving on Saru’s hierarchy, it means there are no black South Africans occupying any of the top posts in national rugby.
Usually national sports federations have a “gentleman’s agreement” when elections are held to ensure that black South Africans, coloured South Africans and white South Africans are spread over the top three positions to reflect the demographics of South Africa’s population.
The term “gentleman’s agreement” was mentioned at the time the voting for the deputy and vice-president took place.
However, Hoskins—a coloured attorney from Pietermaritzburg—will have Mark Alexander, another coloured person, from Gauteng’s Golden Lions as his deputy.
The other key position went to a white person, Rautie Rautenbach of the Falcons, who replaces Western Province’s Koos Basson as vice-president.
Basson has retired from rugby administration.—Sapa
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