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AfriForum, Trade Solidarity plan to stop ‘political interference' in sport

The organisations say the political focus should be on the development of sport and not an ambush on equal opportunity.

FILE: The Springboks were one of the teams facing backlash from the Sports Ministry after failing to meet transformation targets. Picture: Twitter/@Springboks.

JOHANNESBURG - AfriForum and Trade Union Solidarity have announced a plan to stop what they call political interference in sport.

The organisations say pressure from the Sport Ministry to have sport bodies add more people of colour without merit is in contravention of agreed-upon international norms.

AfriForum's Henk Maree says there is a plan to meet with international sporting bodies in the coming month.

Maree says the political focus should be on the development of sport and not an ambush on equal opportunity.

“Through correct development, you will give children and later on adults of all races through South Africa an equal opportunity.”

In April 2016, then Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula made headlines after revoking tournament hosting rights for the country's Cricket South Africa, South African Rugby, Netball South Africa and Athletics South Africa for failing to meet their transformation targets.

Mbalula said there was need to be tangible transformation in sports so that it stops being a topic of debate in the country.

"I expect that in the next five years we would have made so much of a dent in terms of transformation that the subject will not become a topic."

He said equal opportunities must be granted to people of all races and backgrounds.

Meanwhile, the head of the Eminent Persons Group Willie Basson said another way of forcing federations to transform would be to revoke national colours.

"You could have said withdraw colours, conditional that in your next one in 2016 there is a market improvement."

Additional reporting by Morena Mothupi.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)