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Court to ‘supervise’ efforts to transform sport

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The High Court in Pretoria will play a “supervisory role” in ensuring that South Africa’s national rugby team has more black players in future.

This was after leader of the Agency for New Agenda party, Tshidiso Mokhoanatse, on Wednesday abandoned his bid to ask the court to prevent the Springboks from leaving the country to compete in the Rugby World Cup as the team was too white.

He told reporters his intention had not been to stop the Springboks, and that it was a “tactical move” to draw attention to the need for transformation in sport.

“The matter is still ongoing. Counsel are going to have to sit down, come up with a proposal, go back to the court and go back to the judge. The judge will make that an order of the court. From hence, transformation will start to happen,” he said.

His lawyer, Matlhaba Manala, told Judge Ntendeya Mavundla it would not be opportune to venture into proposing solutions in court and suggested the matter be stood down to enable a conversation between the parties involved. Mavundla agreed.

Mokhoanatse had initially wanted to tackle the matter himself, without the help of a lawyer.

Mavundla used aquatic metaphors to convince him that he needed help. He said the debate about transformation might look like a calm pond on the surface, “but underneath the waters flow with tremendous force”.

He said the “fishes can bite” and he needed the help of a “scuba diver”.

Mokhoanatse gratefully accepted and Manala was appointed.

Mavundla said the “transformation wheels” were grinding very slowly, that people were getting impatient and that the matter was of national importance.

“We need to hurry up. We need to move with determination, focus, so that there is less turbulence. The matters of transformation have got that potential of people losing patience. You can already see at the University of Stellenbosch,” he said.

Mokhoanatse said afterwards that he was happy with the outcome. The responsibility for ensuring transformation had been put into the lap of the courts, and taken away from the South African Rugby Union and the sports minister.

After 21 years of democracy they had failed to make any significant progress, he said.

The 55-year-old said he would watch the Rugby World Cup and support the Springboks, although he battled to understand the rules of the game. News24

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