South African Rugby Union: Eastern Cape developments, Transformation Plans & Broadcasting Contract

Sports, Arts and Culture

17 June 2008
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The issue of Mr Gert van Schalkwyk playing for the Mpumalanga Pumas team was discussed briefly. There was a difference between the South African Rugby Union’s disciplinary procedures and criminal procedure, which might have raised some confusion over his eligibility to play. Two conflicting legal opinions had been obtained as to the effect of the appeal being lodged, and the Committee was obtaining a definitive opinion.

The South African Rugby Union then gave an update on development of rugby in the Eastern Cape. There had been administrative problems in the region. It was a cradle of black rugby and the need to have a Super Rugby franchise in the area was shared. A possible expansion of the current Super 14 competition would accommodate an Eastern Cape franchise. A fledgling team had been identified but was not ready for this level of competition. It was noted that a national academy was to be established in the province. Members had some concern with its location as costs incurred on transport might be better spent elsewhere. Members felt that the established franchises were blocking the aspirations of the Eastern Cape. Club rugby was in a difficult position even though support was being given to revive club structures. Finances were a problem and Members undertook to follow-up with the lottery, which was one source of funding.

The Rugby Union then addressed the Members on broadcast rights, which was a complicated issue as they were subject to international agreements. The South African Rugby Union would like to see a deal arranged whereby the South African Broadcasting Corporation could cover Currie Cup games, but it seemed there was a lack of interest on their part. Other priorities were at play.

The Rugby Union then addressed issues of transformation, noting that the popularity of the game was declining in some areas, particularly in the north. In the Eastern and Western Cape there was still growth, but only a small percentage of schools offered the sport. A large number of players also quit the game on leaving school. This had to be addressed. There was a satisfactory percentage of black players at lower levels of the game, poor representation at senior provincial level. Resources in the form of money and manpower were needed in order to implement transformation policies.

Members were critical of national leadership in that they seemed unable to force policies onto the provinces. The appointment of Mr Pieter de Villiers as national coach was seen as politically correct, but the President of the South African Rugby Union admitted that he was only the second choice but was appointed with a transformation objective. Promises made during the 1992 unity talks had not been honoured.

Meeting report

South African Rugby Union: Mpumalanga Pumas and Gert van Schalkwyk issue
The Chairperson said that the South African Rugby Union (SARU) was one of the federations that never raised an objection when called to appear before the Committee, and their cooperation was appreciated. He reported that their presentation today would deal with matters raised already and with implementation of the Transformation Charter (TC) would also be discussed.

The Chairperson said that the Committee had interacted with the Mpumalanga Pumas and the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) responsible for sport in Mpumalanga around whether Mr Gert van Schalkwyk, who had been convicted of murder, but who had lodged an appeal, should be playing for the Pumas team pending the hearing of the appeal against the criminal conviction. A legal opinion from Mr Christo Ferreira, Legal Advisor, SARU, had been tendered that in terms of the Criminal Procedures Act, the appeal proceedings had the effect, of suspending the conviction and sentence, and therefore he was free to continue his normal life until the conclusion of the appeal, which would give the final ruling on the issue. The Pumas were playing an alleged murderer in their team, and their exposure was being increased. This man had showed no remorse despite a lower court finding of guilty on two separate courts.

He said that a Parliamentary Legal Advisor had a different view, to the effect that the person should be regarded as guilty, although a subsequent appeal could set aside the guilty verdict if it so decided. The Committee was waiting for a definitive opinion. The Committee would be happy to see Mr van Schalkwyk being rehabilitated, but wanted to see some remorse for his actions. The SARU constitution said that no convicted criminal would be eligible to play.

Mr Oregan Hoskins, President, SARU, said that he had made a public statement on the issue. This reflected both his personal view and that of SARU. He had called for Mr van Schalkwyk to be banned from playing immediately. Mr Mentz was new to the presidency of the Mpumalanga Rugby Union, and he hoped that he would still learn a lot. SARU had rules governing its disciplinary procedures, which were not the same as the procedure in the criminal courts. There were rules to deal with misconduct. He had not seen the opinion written by Mr Ferreira, but there was a difference between sport and criminal sanction. There was a code of conduct in place. SARU’s rules allowed a player or official found guilty of a disciplinary offence in its own system to continue his involvement in the game while an appeal was pending. Mr Ferreira had perhaps based his opinion on this policy. He would get an opinion and forward it to the Committee the next day.

The Chairperson was happy with this. Mr Mentz was not aware of the statement made by Mr Hoskins, and it was possible that he had chosen the wrong option. The Committee was concerned that wrong precedents should not be set. The conduct of Mr Mentz bordered on contempt of Parliament. However, this was not the issue to be discussed at this meeting.

Transformation issues: Rugby in the South Eastern Cape: Presentation by South African Rugby Union:
Mr Hoskins said that he would deal with the three topics mentioned in the letter of invitation first. These were the status of rugby in the South Eastern Cape, transformation and the broadcast rights deal with SuperSport.

When his Executive had come into office two years previously, they had decided that the rehabilitation of rugby in the South Eastern Cape was a high priority. They had planned to buy out an investment by Sael, which had a big influence on the game in the area. The unions were being suffocated. SARU had been warned by their auditors not to invest due to the financial risk. However, they had bought the Sael shares at half price. The unions had wed millions, and this was a big step in their recovery. They realised the importance of the region to South African rugby. The Southern Spears franchise had been set up by Mr Tony McKeever, and over R6 million had been spent.

The Chairperson interjected that Mr McKeever was present at the meeting, but only as an observer. He would not be making a presentation.

Mr Hoskins said that SARU was trying to be transparent on the issue. They had said that it was not in the interests of South African rugby to keep the Spears franchise active at this stage. The health of the unions involved should be restored first. It was always the intention to have an Eastern Cape franchise. More than R500 000 had been spent a few weeks ago to form the embryo of a new franchise. A combined Eastern Cape team had played a match against Western Province. The case for this franchise had been put forward to SANZAR, the body which controlled competition between South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Mr Hoskins was proud to say that SARU had seen it as a duty to resolve the high level of conflict in the Eastern Province (EP) area. Nobody had been successful with this before. SARU had managed to get the parties together, and unity had now been achieved even though there were still some problems. The co-leadership arrangement between Messrs Watson and de Silva would take the union forward. SARU had provided about R200 000 to start an inter-club competition, which would involve clubs from Border, EP and South Western Districts (SWD). Money was an issue in the region.

Mr Hoskins said that there had been a heartening meeting the previous week. The Eastern Cape government was prepared to finance rugby in the province as long as there was progress. The EP and SWD unions were now in the black. Border still had inherent problems, and were in debt by R6 million. The Executive would be visiting Border the following week.

He said that legacy workshops were being held in the Transkei. SARU was being helped by SuperSport, which had big commitments to cover matches at schools and in the townships. There was a project to recognise the legends and the forgotten heroes. SARU was committed to developing rugby in the Eastern Cape.

Mr Mpumelelo Tshume, Chairman of SARU Board, said that the SWD union were not sure if they wanted to stay in the Spears franchise or rather return to the Stormers fold. SANZAR was a joint venture, but South Africa would be chairing the body in 2009. South Africa did not want to have to include the Spears at the cost of another franchise. However, a lot of thought was being given to expanding the Super 14 competition. South Africa could get an extra franchise and the Australians wanted another franchise based in Melbourne. There were also thoughts of including the Pacific Islands and Argentina, and the United States and Japan could also become involved.

The Chairperson was pleased by the very progressive language being used. There had been an outcry in the media over the perception that the Spears franchise was being forced into the limelight. However, the Eastern Cape could not be neglected in the transformation context. It was in this area that transformation was happening. This was the correct thinking, and the Committee thought that the next franchise should be allocated there. He agreed that the team should be built to a competitive level first. SARU had reneged on the agreement over the Spears. Other franchises were full of players from the Eastern Cape.

Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) felt that the goalposts had been shifted for the Eastern franchise. The established franchises did not want to see the Spear becoming a reality, as they used the Eastern Cape as a nursery for their own teams. He feared that a new leadership would be elected by SARU for the next two years and would pursue a different agenda. SARU must continue the work started by previous administrations.

Mr R Reid (ANC) said that the meeting needed to look back a bit further. When the competition was still the Super 12 there had been only four franchises in South Africa. The concept of the Spears had been mooted by Mr Brian van Rooyen, the former SARU President. The Ford motor company was a sponsor, and Mr van Rooyen had the use of a Ford Mondeor. However, as he rather wanted a Rover, he had made a deal to split the Cats franchise into the present Lions and Cheetah franchises. The Eastern Cape was the one area where black players were the vast majority of participants. He asked why it had been necessary to bail out the unions financially. Money had been put aside for development, but Mr Heyneke Meyer had taken all the money to buy up players from Northern Transvaal. The Spears were still excluded while the Lions and Cheetahs were always at the bottom of the log.

Mr C Frolick (ANC) said that the President was correct. There were delicate issues in the Eastern Cape. The Committee agreed that the Spears were not yet ready to play in the Super 14. He suggested a two to three year programme. The Sael sponsorship had benefited Eastern Cape rugby. This decision rested with SARU. The Border Bulls were still in the red.

Mr Hoskins said that when Sael had been an equity partner, large loans had been made to the unions. SARU made grants to the provinces, but all of the money given to the Eastern Cape unions was going to service their debts to Sael. No rugby was being played in the Eastern Cape due to the lack of money. Now that the unions had been released from their obligations the money coming to them could now be spent on organising rugby.

Mr Frolick said that he was facing a challenge. He was involved with some clubs in the EP area. He asked if SARU was satisfied that the grants for amateur clubs were going to the right place. Clubs had no money to travel to away matches or to buy new balls. The Chairman of the Progress club had asked for funding, and felt that a small percentage of the revenue from SuperSport should go to help the clubs.

He asked where the academy would be located. It would not help to have an open-ended discussion. A date was needed.

Mr Frolick congratulated the Warriors cricket franchise on acquiring three international players. One of the differences in cricket was that the nationally contracted players were paid by Cricket South Africa rather than their franchise. It would be difficult to create a viable rugby team in the area.

The Chairperson said that merit selection could only be considered when the infrastructure had been set up. There was a need to establish this first. There was a presumption that white players were more talented than their black counterparts.

Mr Tshume said that South African rugby needed a pool of resources and money to target development. Provinces had submitted development plans, which were assessed by SARU. The policy was to give half of the funds requested. The project would be reviewed at some point in its lifecycle, and if satisfactory progress was being made then the rest of the funds would be forwarded. Provincial presidents had a duty to distribute funds fairly. He admitted that there were shortcomings in the system.

He was very enthusiastic about the academy, which would be located in Alicedale. It was meant to consolidate SARU’s development strategy. Capital was needed to establish the academy, and R30 million was needed just for the infrastructure. SARU had engaged with the International Rugby Board (IRB), and tried to encourage them to make an investment. The IRB was prepared to back SARU on a rand-for-rand basis provided that the project was sanctioned by the government. He would brief the Director-General (DG) accordingly.

The Chairperson queried the rand-for-rand proposal.

Mr Tshume replied that his was the IRB’s condition. They should know what the imperatives were.

The Chairperson felt that a more reasonable proposal could be made, such as 2:1. The rand-for-rand proposal was unfair.

Mr Tshume said that if the matter went to negotiation then SARU would not want to be seen as the main source of funding, but they did want to show their intent.

Mr Hoskins said that the academy concept was important. The KwaZulu-Natal union had been in long discussions with Border, and an academy would be launched at any day in East London. The Sharks had also had discussions with EP. There was also talk about one in SWD. These would all do wonders for rugby.

The Chairperson said that undertakings were needed. He asked where the SARU academy would be, as there seemed to be some confusion.

Mr Hoskins said that it would still be at the Alicedale site. SARU had already spent R2 million on the groundwork. There was still a question on the exact location. There was a problem with the logistics of distance. It was a fantastic place and the Minister was enthusiastic, but it would be a problem to transport students to and from the townships. It was a bit of a grand scheme, but SARU would not make the same mistakes as had been made in the past.

Mr Frolick said that the intention was that this would be a national academy. There were other contractual issues. It would be a public institution on private property, which made the situation very difficult. There had been a proposal to move it to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and he wanted to know what the status was of this proposal.

Mr Hoskins said that Mr Frolick had highlighted an important challenge. The property belonged to a Mr Gardner. There were no plans to relocate it at present, and no final decision on that had been taken.

The Chairperson said that there were implications in terms of the Public Finance Management Act. A private/public partnership was needed. SARU must look into the various options.

Mr B Solo (ANC) said that Alicedale was not far from Port Elizabeth. There were many redistribution and development programme (RDP) houses next to the station, but half of these were empty. The feasibility study had been well conducted. Transnet seemed more interested in property. Towns should be self-sustainable. Many people from the rural areas of the EP would do their shopping in Port Elizabeth. A sustainable institution was needed.

Mr Frolick, acting as Chairperson, said that the establishment had to be cost effective. Money spent on travel costs could be better used for other expenses if transport costs were reduced.

Mr Mveleli Ncula, Transformation Consultant, SARU, said that there were legacy projects in the Transkei. It was a huge area, but this was where the black players were. Border was not just East London and King William’s Town. Facilities were needed. It was pointless to launch development programmes if there were no facilities to back them up.

Mr Frolick said that the National Sports and Recreation Amendment Act (NSRAA) was in place. These issues had to be addressed for the benefit of transformation. White clubs already had facilities everywhere. Performance agreements were needed, and SARU must raise the issue when meeting the DG.

Mr Hoskins said that the federation had come to the Committee for help. There was a serious need for funding. Lottery funds needed to be unlocked. There was a problem with maladministration, which had seen the lottery freeze all rugby funding. He understood that monitoring of the spending of funds in the EP might be necessary. Black clubs were suffering.

Mr Frolick said that the National Lottery Board (NLB) had been called to Parliament. The Committee had been surprised by the approach of the NLB. Clubs could apply for grants. He asked for names so that the Committee could follow up, as there must be some record of applications. Lottery grants could be used to provide the basic facilities that were needed.

Mr Ncula undertook to provide the information by the end of the week.

The Chairperson said that SARU could make an application on behalf of a club. Existing facilities could also be upgraded.

Mr Hoskins said that the Managing Director had initiated a project to obtain more funding.

Broadcasting Rights
Mr Hoskins said that neither he, nor any other member of SARU, would ever accept, nor had ever received, a single cent as a commission on the deal regarding broadcasting rights. The motivation behind accepting the offer from SuperSport was to ensure funding for SARU going forward. There was a plan in place to retain the World Cup in 2011, but money was needed to keep players in South Africa and to fund the development programme. This would expand the player base. At present rugby was only played in 10% of South African schools. SARU needed money and participants to expand the game.

He said that the rights to Currie Cup matches were included in a bundle of television rights. This included the Tri Nations and Super 14 competitions. These had been negotiated with Mr Robert Murdoch’s News Corporation group in 1995. Networks in Australia and New Zealand had similar deals. The rights for Currie Cup matches could be sold further which doubled the monetary value. The bar was raised when Tri Nations and Super 14 games were considered. The SARU Executive had explained the terms of the deal to Council, and it had been accepted unanimously.

The President said that television rights were sold to the highest bidder. It was not a good idea to put them out to tender. The rights for the Currie Cup alone would cost R700 million.

Mr Tshume said that the rights for inbound tours cost R70 million. This was shared between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, although South Africa was the biggest and most important market. They had urged the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to be part of a broadcasting partnership by sharing matches.

Mr Hoskins said that the free-to-air broadcasters were very important. There was no guarantee that rugby would grow if matches were televised in open broadcasts. For example, cricket was not growing by any large degree despite the home internationals being shown on SABC. The SARU administration had decided to engage with the SABC, and had spent a long time with the SABC management. SuperSport must share games with the SABC. SARU had done their best to reach some form of compromise and would continue to try to reach a solution.

Mr Tshume said that one of the home Tests would be on 9 August. SARU had deliberately scheduled it on this date to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday. They wanted to insist that the match be televised live on SABC.

Mr Ncula said that there had been some initiatives. A programme had been discussed, with an emphasis on beaming the game into rural areas.

Mr Frolick asked what the position was with radio broadcasts.

Mr Hoskins replied that the issue was on the table. They had indicated to the SABC that more could be done in the vernacular. The SABC had said they would work on this, as at the moment they were only taking radio commentary in Afrikaans.

The Chairperson said that this was a very important issue. Coverage on SuperSport was very professional, but only 10% of the population had access to this channel.

Mr Hoskins said that at his last meeting with the SABC a question had been raised as to what the SABC would do if Currie Cup matches were given to them. Their reply had been that they would not have space on their channels even if they were given these matches. They felt that soap operas were more important to their viewers.

The Chairperson asked why things were being pushed that way. The SABC had to follow certain national objectives, and it was the national broadcaster. A way had to be found to stimulate interest in the game. This was not an issue of getting the best rates, but one of bringing a national sport to the people. The SABC had the capacity to broadcast in nine of the official languages, and this was unprecedented. The infrastructure had been built up for years, but he wondered if statements like those reported by Mr Hoskins were not indicating that the SABC should be closed. They had attended meetings with the Committee a few weeks previously. They had to act in the interests of the majority of the people.

 State of Transformation in South Africa Rugby

The Chairperson asked why provincial coaches were refusing to accept transformation. The result was that the national coach had no black talent to choose from. Provincial teams were lily white, and provinces were conniving to maintain the situation. The implementation of the NSRAA would be the shock of their lives. The franchises would be targeted. The principle of transformation was drawn from the national Constitution, not sucked out of a politician’s thumb. The country could not continue to swim in apartheid. There had to be change.

Mr Willie Basson, Strategic Coordinator, SARU,  said that when the TC had been introduced the Committee had given SARU some plaudits, and had encouraged them to stay loyal to the principles. There was a wide range of attitudes to transformation and it was not an easy job to manage the process. A six dimensional process was being followed. Targets had been set to increase the rate of demographic change and to extend the profile of the game. Access to the game had to be improved, skills had to be developed and there had to be development of the community if substantial change was to be achieved. Employment equity and preferential procurement policies were rugby’s social responsibility. The data from 2006 had been analysed and the TC had been incorporated into SARU’s overall strategy.

The Chairperson asked what the attitude of the new office bearers was. He had heard disturbing noises. Transformation was irritating some people.

Mr Rautie Rautenbach, Vice-President, SARU, said that the Falcons union had appointed Mr Pieter de Villiers as the first black coach of a Currie Cup team. Mr John Williams had been the coach for the last two years. Transformation was very important and he had proved this during his tenure as President of the Falcons.

The Chairperson said this was pleasing. The contribution of the Falcons was way above that of everyone else. They were setting the pace. However, he repeated that there was a disturbing tone in the current leadership. There must be a redress of past wrongs, not just tokenism.

Mr Hoskins was pleased that this had been brought to his attention. There was a need to deal with the situation together. He wanted to think that the pace of transformation would not slow down. The Dmerging South Africa team was on the verge of winning a tournament in Europe, and the Baby Boks were in the semi-final of the Under 20 World Cup. This match would be televised on SuperSport.

The Chairperson said that they would receive these teams at the airport. There was no doubt that good players were being developed, but there was a ceiling through which they could not break.

Mr Basson said that the TC was the driving force. It was now an integral part of the strategy. There was a commercial focus to rugby and this had a huge impact at the highest level. Winning tournaments was the highest priority, and business decisions were made. These were mostly not in favour of transformation. SARU was currently analysing the data from 2007. There was huge progress in some areas.

Mr Basson said that meetings were held with each province on a one-on-one basis. This gave SARU the opportunity to debate the meaning of the figures presented in reports. They would meet with the whole leadership of that province. Weak areas could be identified and corrective action could be planned. A follow-up meeting was held at the end of the year where all provinces attended on a collective basis. There, the trends were discussed as well as the rate of change. When meeting provinces, their status relative to the other provinces was described.

Mr Basson said that there was still a divide between north and south. At school and club level, Eastern Cape teams had 70% black players compared to 10 to15% in the north. A long term strategy was needed because rugby was dying. In the north there was an annual loss of between 10 and 15% of players. The future lay in the Eastern and Western Cape.

He said that the importance of transformation in the community had to be elevated. The status of transformation was often that white administrators thought that it was a black problem and gave it to them to take charge of programmes. The policy had to have teeth. The meeting at the end of last year had discussed the collective rates of change were discussed and where unique problems were raised. There had to be a realisation in the rugby community that the game had to change. In the north, clubs were under severe pressure. In Pretoria there was no longer an Under 21 league. New structures had to be developed. There had to be a more visible impact.

Mr Basson listed some statistics about the numbers of black players. At junior school level the figure was 53% and at senior school level 44%. Of the coaches, 40% at junior level and 41% at high school level were black. Only 10% of schools were playing rugby. This was a very serious concern. The demographics of schools were changing and in many cases the schools were switching from rugby to soccer. At provincial Under 18 and academy level 45% of players were black. At Under 20 level the figure was more than 40%. These figures showed that the transformation process was moving at junior levels, and he anticipated an increase of 5%. At the national age group level the representation of black players was more than 50%, and this also applied to the women’s team and the Sevens team. Of the coaches, 40% were black.

However, he said that only 10 to 15% of players at senior provincial players were black. There was a loss of 70% of school leaving rugby players. Club structures were disappearing. A way had to found to deal with this drop-off factor. A three-dimensional approach was needed. Already at Under 9 level children with potential had to be identified and introduced into a high performance system. There was a need to look beyond the rugby environment. Family and social backgrounds were also important, and support structures were needed. This was the only way to prevent the drop-off of players. If this was not done, the representation of black players would remain at 15%. The materiel was there, and the change process was in place. Some provinces had to work harder than others. There was a huge impact when the Committee visited provinces.

Mr Basson said that another dimension was the access to facilities, skills development and community involvement. There was underperformance in this dimension, which could be monitored. New structures were needed for community development, and the cooperation of government was needed. 

He said that in terms of social responsibility, SARU’s employment equity and procurement policies were far exceeding the targets set. These targets would be revised, and had perhaps been set too low. Generally the achievement was more than 50% while some provinces were reaching 80% in these fields.

Mr Basson returned to some of the issues. Rugby would not survive if only 10% of schools were playing the game. Only two provinces, namely the Eastern and Western Cape, had shown an increase in numbers in the last eight years. Changes at school level could be enacted through the Mass Participation Programme (MPP). This was the role of central, provincial and local government. It was a very expensive process. Transformation was central to government policy, and government therefore had to help as a partner with SARU. The leadership was committed to transformation.

He said that as development progressed and transformation was implemented facilities were needed, even basic facilities. There were huge expectations. There was a lack of trained volunteers. Such people were needed to make transformation happen. There was a socio-economic challenge to the establishment of clubs.

Mr Dikgacwi said that it was time to deal sternly with the issues, and there should be no rules restricting the implementation of transformation. There was funding for restructuring. Many documents had been presented, and yet SARU was unable to enforce change on the provinces and was seemingly unable to call them to order. This was a very disturbing problem. The President of SARU was abdicating his responsibilities. Adv Norman Arendse, President of Cricket South Africa, had been criticised when he had intervened in the team selection process. Mr Hoskins had said that he would never interfere. When Mr de Villiers had been appointed as national coach, Mr Hoskins had said that rugby knowledge was not the only consideration. This was an insult.

Mr Dikgacwi continued by saying that clubs were disappearing. If SARU was unaware of it, the 1992 unity process had been unfair. The SA Rugby Board had swallowed the body then known as SARU. Before then there would be more interest in a township derby than a Test match. There had to be mechanisms in place or else there could be no enforcement.

Mr Hoskins replied that when he had given Mr de Villiers a free hand to choose his team, this had been done out of respect. The previous coach did not have the same privilege. Mr de Villiers had been appointed by a committee chaired by Mr Stofile. The appointment was made in the interests of transformation. The number one candidate was Mr Heyneke Meyer and Mr de Villiers was the number two choice. He had explained this truth to the nation. Transformation was the reason that he was President. He had succeeded, and development would succeed.

He said that there was a long way to go. One must remember that the Springboks were world champions and should be given some credit. Other codes were far from being winners. The people of New Brighton had turned out in numbers to greet the Springboks after the World Cup triumph. Against a background of so many social ills, rugby was seen as a shining light. There were no underhand commissions being paid to SARU officials.

Mr Hoskins pleaded that rugby must be given a chance. SARU was being condemned at every turn. President Mbeki had lifted the World Cup trophy with pride, and Mr Jacob Zuma had also attended the final. His parents had not supported the Springboks. Older people were still bitter over the events of the past.

Mr Frolick said that some issues should be seen from a different point of view. The country would go soccer mad in the build-up to the 2010 World Cup. Football would captivate the nation and the number of rugby teams would decrease further as a consequence. The MPP had been allocated half a billion rand and spending on school sport would increase at the end of the current Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

He said that the question was how to deal with sport development. It was common purpose that the number of rugby players was declining, as well of the number of women in sport. Some issues had to be revisited, and for this reason government was calling for a sports indaba. Common issues could be explored.

Mr Frolick said that his family had also never supported the Springboks, but could now start to identify with them. The Springbok symbol itself had been despised for a long time but was in itself being transformed. This was a historical development. The appointment of Mr de Villiers was a progressive step. More black players were coming through the ranks and he was putting faith in these players. Transformation in sport was part of a necessary transformation in society in general.

He said that success should not be seen like Haley’s Comet, which made an appearance only once every 76 years. The building blocks were in place now. The rugby momentum lay in the Eastern Cape. He asked why it was dying on the other side of the country. He asked if SARU’s constitution was responsive to the transformation plan. Rugby operated a federal system.

The Chairperson said that they had spoken about the provinces, which had their own constitutions. This was a peculiar scenario. There were structural defects. The provinces could not oppose the national constitution. The buck stopped with the President of SARU.

Mr Basson said that there was a long process of change in the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA), and that it needed direction. There had been three leadership changes at SRSA, and this led to discontinuity in the Department. People were aligned to the TC. SARU leadership had accepted the reality that things could not continue as before. The constitution was outdated and must be revised. Various forces, including the provisions of the NSRAA, should be allowed to bring about a better alignment of the SARU constitution. The autonomy of the provinces had to be considered.

Mr Dikgacwi said that there had been no sincerity at the unity talks. A strategy was drawn up, but a mechanism was needed to implement it. A hard look at the constitution was needed. The promises of 1992 had not been honoured, and the only aspect that had been taken to heart was the return to international competition. The President of SARU did not have a veto power. This was not a rugby issue but had been the cause of the debacle in cricket. Things were better at the Under 21 level. It was a sad day when political involvement was condemned. For a long time political interference was only considered by many people to be wrong when the ANC was involved. There was a Minister in charge of sport. Government was not apologetic if it intervened where it felt necessary.

The Chairperson asked Mr Dikgacwi if he was saying that rugby must not implement the TC.

Mr Dikgacwi said he would never say any such thing.

The Chairperson said that transformation was a political consideration. He agreed that rugby must transform itself. It was up to the President of SARU to say how this must happen.

Mr Dikgacwi agreed that transformation must happen. It was part of the national agenda.

The Chairperson said that Members must not be apologetic in making the call for transformation. He referred to the Afrikaans terms for Affirmative Action – “regstellende aksie” which was translated as corrective action. This was what must happen. It had been politically correct to appoint Mr de Villiers as coach.

Mr Frolick said he was very proud of the comments made by Mr John Smit, the Springbok captain, after the match the previous weekend. He had referred to the display of the old South African flag at the ground, and it was right that the captain had condemned this action on behalf of the team. A message was being sent to the public. He noted that the matches in Bloemfontein and Pretoria had not drawn capacity crowds. He asked if this was a trend, and if it was related to the economy. There had been criticism of ticket prices being too high.

Mr Frolick said that SARU must not ignore criticism. He asked if SARU could identify indicators by which it should be gauged. Various issues had been raised at this meeting.

Mr Hoskins asked how Mr Frolick would judge him after two years in office. He had taken the Members of the Committee into his confidence. After the world cup a leadership election was due. He knew that there were problems and had called the Chairperson and Mr Frolick. There were allegations that Mr Stofile was involved with some kind of third force. He had no response from the Members. Sincerity was needed or the country could be damaged. Time would judge one’s actions. He had fought for freedom and his principles had not changed.

The Chairperson said that the Committee would not respond to rumours.

Mr Frolick said that Mr Hoskins had not called him about third force involvement. He had been approached by a certain attorney, whom he thought might have been a player’s agent. Mr Hoskins had come to the ANC study group, which normally was limited to those in whom the Members had complete trust. A commission of enquiry would be needed if allegations of a third force were to be investigated. There were not many people who would be prepared to tell the truth in public. Parents of players, past players and sponsors were involved in a group which wanted to influence the SARU elections. The Chairperson had spoken to a person who described himself as a champion of the cause. This was happening at a time when there was intense lobbying. There would have been a detrimental effect if a commission had been set up.

Mr Hoskins repeated that he had called the members. The visit to the Study Group was way before the World Cup. There had been no such problems at that time. Mr Schalk Burger senior and Johan Rupert had made approaches. Mr Hoskins had called the Chairperson to tell him that this was happening. He had never heard from Mr Komphela or Mr Frolick, and asked where the trust was. He had only heard of the opposition to his nomination as President after the World Cup. Messrs Burger and Rupert had rejected the attempt to get Mr Rupert to stand for the Presidency and had declared their support for Mr Hoskins. He asked why the Members were not working with him.

At this point the Members decided to continue the discussion with Mr Hoskins off the record.

After the matter had been discussed, Mr Tshume said that there was a need for SARU to meet the Committee. Some guidelines were needed in respect of the British Lions tour planned for 2009.

Mr Frolick said that he thought that all the arrangements had been finalised.

Mr Tshume said there were still some issues.

Mr Hoskins said that he had been restrained in the past. This was the first time that he had spoken out. Perhaps he should have done so before. He respected the Members, but he needed to speak from his heart.

The Chairperson said that he was free to speak, but must just not use incorrect language. He assured him that the challenges to sport would never end. The Committee would continue to challenge person who held different views, and the battlefield was open. The engagements would, however, be conducted with respect.

The meeting was adjourned.


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