The Minister was addressing the media in Johannesburg following widespread criticism of the Springboks over the racial composition of the Rugby World Cup team. The Boks finished third in the international contest.
Minister Mbalula and the SA Rugby Union (Saru) had been taken to court by a little-known political party in a bid to stop the Boks from competing in the World Cup. The party said the national rugby team’s selection criteria are “racially exclusionary”.
Minister Mbalula on Thursday conceded that there are strong public concerns about the pace of transformation in sport, particularly rugby. However, he said the transformation agenda has to be looked at holistically and not just at the top level of national teams. He said a lot of developmental work continues to be done at school level to even the playing field for talented black children.
“In the same vein, we acknowledge the public concerns about … transformation in our sporting codes, rugby included… [This is] … a matter we are seized with at all times.
“To this end, I made a commitment to meet with all structures of civil society and individuals who are keen to engage constructively in the interest of sport and South Africa,” he said.
Minister Mbalula said he will meet with the Congress of South African Trade Unions to discuss the petition submitted to their offices and share with them the strategic interventions to transform the South African sporting landscape for good and for better.
“There is no better way to address this gap other than to remind you of the foundation we have laid and concrete steps taken in order to achieve transformation goals,” he said.