The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has condemned the “racist choices” of SA Rugby.
Cosatu, in a statement released on Tuesday, slammed the lack of transformation in SA rugby, suggesting that black players have been excluded to make place for Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s “white favourites”.
Cosatu’s press statement reads as followed:
The lack of black players in SA rugby teams have reached a crisis, with the latest choices of the team that lost to the Argentinians over the weekend. The team only had 2 black South African players in the starting line up. No other team could possibly perform worse than this team and we insist that a more representative team be picked for the next game against Argentinia (Argentina). The performance next week of the mixed team should then lay to rest once and for all the obvious advantages of picking mixed teams. When we have clearly seen that the most mixed team [Stormers] had performed the best of all the SA teams in the Super 15 competition.
The coach played many of the white players out of their positions as he put them into specialist positions, where clearly there were black players available. When he does bring in a few black players, the quality of play changed; but too little too late. This adds insult to injury as the coach ignores the form players of the year as well as the form teams of the year in favour of his personal preferences. This Coach does not have the National interest at heart and demonstrates a sense of arrogance in disregarding the interest of the majority of South Africans, by treating SA rugby as his private fiefdom.
This coach has been the worst performing coach of all time over this tournament and yet not a word is spoken about this. When Coach De Villiers led the team the white establishment was quick to criticise him, yet there is a deafening silence now. There is a white cabal who still tries to control the Rugby team and who gets to play in it. They must be told in no uncertain terms that this Springbok team belongs to all South Africans and should reflect all South Africans.
There is a practice of reverse affirmative action in Rugby, where certain positions are still maintained for the white players. This maintenance and control of the white establishment is reflected in who gets the most lucrative contracts and who gets to continue on in the sport in leadership and administrative positions. Black Players have come to Cosatu to take up these issues for them, as they are often victimised when they raise it with the Rugby association. The Rugby establishment defends the privileged position of white players and the Captain Jean De Villiers is an example of this. Any other player anywhere else in the world would have to play himself back into the team after such a long absence, yet he gets to just walk back into the team, when he is clearly not the form player.
Cosatu calls on the Minister and the leadership of Rugby to stop pandering to this racist white interest represented and led by the Coach. We want the Coach removed and a more representative team selected that represents all the people of South Africa. We need to get the nation behind the team and we certainly have a difficulty supporting a white team, when there are so many black players who are the form players in so many positions, excluded.
This Rugby World Cup, Cosatu and the democratic sporting fraternity will take a stand against white control, domination and manipulation of the Rugby squad. We will make the issue about the exclusion of black players an International campaign to expose how certain sectors of South Africa refuses to transform, in line with the National ambition.