The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the Western Cape said it was disturbed by a planned upcoming rugby camp by SAS (Stellenbosch Academy of Sport) Rugby, between the Blitzbokke and Israel, saying it was an unacceptable misuse of the South African sporting team. According to Israeli media, the Israeli 7s side intends to travel to the SAS Rugby Academy in Stellenbosch in mid-December to train with the Blitzbokke.
Speaking on VOC’s Breakfast show on Tuesday morning, ANCYL provincial chairperson Khalid Sayed said it was abusive for the Sevens team to host a country which South Africa had downgraded diplomatic relationships with, because of Israel’s violation of international law and abuse of Palestinian human rights.
“It completely undermine that national government policy regarding the downgrade in relations with Israel, it also undermine the global boycott and isolation of Israel at this time given the major human rights violations undertaken by the apartheid state,” explained Sayed.
The ANCYL will be raising its concerns with the relevant bodies including the Minister of Sports and has warned of possible protest action, should the Israeli team’s participation go ahead.
Further than that, Sayed claimed it ‘undermined’ the role of sport envisioned for South Africa.
“So it is deeply problematic and it runs against the spirit of solidarity that actually led to the downfall of apartheid in South Africa
“Rugby was at the center of resistance to apartheid,” said Sayed.
Sayed called it ironic that South Africa would host Israel if they are known as an apartheid state.
“We have made our stance known and if this team does indeed arrive in Stellenbosch, the ANCYL will be there protesting in all its might,” detailed Sayed.
However, Sayed said they have not yet engaged with the academy itself that will be hosting the Israeli rugby team.
“We have made our views known to the Minister of Sports and I think it is important for the minister to engage with the academy because while the national government is not hosting the team because this facility falls under the sports rubric and ambit of sport management in this country,” said Sayed.
With regards to comments made by the SA Zionist Federation (Cape Council) calling the situation politicizing at its finest, Sayed stated sports and politics cannot be separated.
“This actually points to the problem we are facing in the country and it is because we have not politicized our sporting fraternities that we can find today SA rugby and even SA cricket remains largely untransformed. It was the sports boycott that led to the fall of apartheid. Sport is the symbol of a nation,” ended Sayed.
A SA Rugby spokesperson told IOL that the reports of the Springbok Sevens team’s camp with the Israeli team are inaccurate
“That arrangement had nothing to do with the Springbok Sevens squad. The fact that SAS is also the base of the Springbok Sevens is purely coincidental.“