Roelof de Jonge

A key amendment of the act states that it will grant the Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa the power to determine policy for sporting bodies. The bill would not only place national sporting bodies like SAFA, SASCOC or Cricket South Africa under ministerial oversight, but it also extends to all sports clubs and organisations, including gyms like Virgin Active, Planet Fitness and similar groups.

Bulletin tried in vain to obtain a response from Limpopo’s major sporting unions, Limpopo Impala Cricket, Limpopo Blue Bulls and SAFA’s office in Polokwane amongst others.

The draft reads; “the minister, Nathi Mthethwa, may from time to time determine and publish po-
licy objectives to be achieved by Sports and Recreation South Africa, the Sports Confederation or recreation bodies.”

There is a concern that the bill could allow the ANC-led government to interfere with the independence of sport, and that could have serious ramifications for South Africa’s participation in international events.
The DA have been extremely vocal in their criticism. Veronica van Dyk is the Deputy Shadow Mini-
ster of Sports, Arts and Culture. She is demanding that the ANC extend the length of the public consultation process, which came to a close on the 10th of January.

Van Dyk argued that the 30-day submission window wasn’t long enough, considering the festive break in between. Van Dyk also believes this bid to strengthen regulation could lead to Minister Mthethwa (or any of his replacements) deciding how national team line-ups are chosen and determines which foreign coaches are appointed, a grave prospect that needs to be stopped.

The minister will further be able to regulate the appointments of foreign coaches. Cricket SA or professional football (SAFA) will therefore have to obtain permission from the minister to make appointments in this regard. Even sports promoters will be regulated in the future.

The minister will henceforth be the only person to award Protea colours and the powers of fede-
rations, and Sascoc will be limited to recommendations. He may change the policy that influences team selection.

These proposals would essentially cement the quota systems in place across the national bodies of football, rugby and cricket. The DA have vowed to reject this bill in its entirety, fearing that political interference in South African sport is going to cost the country dearly.

Most international sporting bodies like the International Olympic Committee, the International Rugby Board (IRB) and FIFA (world governing football association) vehemently prohibit any government interference in sport, not the mention the picking of a country’s sports teams.

The last time all South African sports teams were banned from international participation was when the previous apartheid government excluded players of colour from its national teams, and also prohibited players of colour from other countries to compete in South Africa.

After decades of isolation and having to compete against ourselves or in non-recognised international sport matches or events, the South African Department of Sports or more specifically politicians are at it again.

Kobus Marais, a board member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), said if the bill was accepted South Africa would be kicked out of the Olympic Games because the world governing body prohibits government interference.

Sumayya Khan, acting director general of the department, denied that sports minister Nathi Mthethwa wanted to take over South African sport.

Bulletin will keep its readers informed on this matter and will continue to get a response from sports entities in Tzaneen and Limpopo. Sports fraternities that would like to give insights and comments to the story are welcome to email



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