Letter: Quota sports teams equals apartheid

AFFIRMATIVE action = black empowerment = racial discrimination = apartheid! No matter how you try to disguise it, quotas are a form of racial discrimination and send us back to the apartheid years.

Had this government considered our children’s education and upbringing a priority instead of an irritation to be brushed off, sports facilities and coaching would have, by now, ensured the manifestation of the immense, latent talent in our black youth. Our sports teams would have been predominantly black, not because of racial selection, but deservedly from the very best talent available. So what now? The huge inferiority complex plaguing us kicks in and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula bans sporting bodies from vying for international tournaments and so on unless stringent racial quotas are met, a Machiavellian decision. He has the power to legislate for the quota requirement to be applied with immediate effect but no, he is fully aware of world opinion should he formally act and legislate contrary to our constitution!

So he hides behind threatening sports authorities with puerile penalties, surreptitiously to do the dirty work for him. The huge economic and marketing benefits that flow from an international gathering to this country are sacrificed on the altar of a few black faces in the national team. What hypocrisy!

How does the ANC intend addressing the following questions?

South Africa is no longer a non-racial society! Nobody can dispute this: as soon as you select people according to their colour you are discriminating, no matter how unpalatable this is or whatever the justification may be;

How do we intend justifying to the world sporting authorities that our teams are picked on merit when this is obviously not so? These bodies took a strong stance against the apartheid teams so how will they react to the present situation?

Do we now call ourselves the “Quota Bafana Bafana”, “Quota Springboks” or do we resort to calling ourselves “a Protea XI”, etc?

Is it not a slap in the face of our world opponents when they compete against us knowing the South African sides are not truly representative of this country’s best?

Has the ANC ever considered the slur placed on all future black sportsmen and women who will never know if they were selected on merit or not? They will be regarded as “quota” players for posterity.

Are our black South Africans so inferior and so without pride?

What the minister is effectively saying is: “Our black players are not good enough but we are the government and therefore you will choose them whether you like it or not!”

What an indictment, a slap in the face of great black sportsmen and women like Makhaya Ntini, Kagiso Rabada, Bryan Habana, Caster Semenya and so many others, all outstanding stars in their own right and deserving of national colours as the very best in the country.

Boitumelo Sethlatswe, a researcher at the South African Institute of Race Relations, is reported as recently saying: “Paradoxically BEE sometimes does not help black people. It pushes stereotypes about black people.” How very true;

What about the rights of our young white sportsmen and women? Are they to be denied their rightful opportunities?

Is this the way our constitution is written? Section 9 of the Bill of Rights contains the equality clause, which provides that everyone is equal before the law and is entitled to equal protection under the law.

Seeking a short-term solution to this government’s inability to provide our children with adequate facilities and guidance in training for the future by threats and racially-based demands will cost this country dearly in time to come.

Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”

Until this government takes our children seriously, we shall have quotas!

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