Mbalula describes transformation as ‘national progress’

The minister’s been expanding on his decision to place certain bans on four of SA’s biggest sporting codes.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula speaking at a special transformation debate with Talk Radio 702’s Xolani Gwala.  Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says transformation will help develop the country as a whole, and not just sporting codes.

Mbalula is speaking at a special transformation debate in Sandton this afternoon, addressing the hot topic which is dominating the narrative around sport.

He made the front pages of nearly every newspaper in South Africa in April, after revoking hosting rights from South African cricket, rugby, netball and athletics federations for their lack of transformation.

The minister has described it as national progress.

"We are helping the nation so that in the next 10-20 years, we will not be here talking transformation - society would have evolved out of this system and realised the need to transform as a nation."

LISTEN: Transformation in sport debate with Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Willie Basson from the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), says some federations will die if they don't transform.

Basson says 95 percent of South Africa's population under 25 is white, which puts a sport like bowling under threat.

"The average age of a bowler in South Africa is 74, they are 99 percent white and since the publishing of the EPG report all of a sudden the leadership woke up. We have to change and transform our membership profile and get stuck into that part of the population that is going to secure a future."

At the same time, Gauteng cricket CEO Greg Fredericks has questioned whether South Africa's sporting federations know how to fully transform and develop young black talent.

Fredericks is just one of the many sporting bosses at this afternoon for a special debate on transformation.

Mbalula has been expanding on his decision to place certain bans on four of the biggest sporting codes in South Africa.

But Frederick's warns certain associations don't understand what's going wrong.

"There are many federations who work very hard to transform the sport; but I don't think anyone takes the effort to find out what the problems are and why people aren't people transforming at the rate that all of us want. I went through the report and I started to see [and have] a clear understanding why people are battling to transform the sport."