The Transformation Rugby Coalition rejects the quota system that Saru has proposed and calls for the abolishment of any system that aims primarily to deflect attention away from Saru's complete failure to transform rugby in South Africa. The coalition views the slated quota system being proposed as defective and indeed harmful to the very intention of transformation.
It is also clear that the leadership of Saru is intent on using the transformation platform for its own leadership battles while at the same time promoting a process designed to fail. It is for this reason that the coalition calls for a complete performance review of all Saru office bearers under the Oregan Hoskins leadership.
Under the leadership of Hoskins, Saru has been plagued by incidents of racism and mismanagement which have led to dismal performances on the transformation front, declining profits and calls for the boycotting of the Loftus Stadium by disgruntled AfriForum. This has culminated in an embarrassing call to include seven black players in the Vodacom Cup competition at any cost.
Selfish personal agendas have substituted vision at Saru. It is clear that the 1992 sports unity talks were compromised, and the coalition believes it was dishonest and indeed signed a death warrant for black rugby.
Transformation is a complex issue that has categorically failed across rugby in South Africa. Successfully achieving it requires a paradigm shift and we must see it as an opportunity not a mandate.
This includes (at the very least) robust consultation, comprehensive planning and changes in approach. Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile "Mr Fix" Mbalula should call a rugby indaba and not just a sports indaba.
This should coordinate the ideas and vision of the former black rugby veterans/legends (from the Leopards as the black rugby national team), the old Kwaru, Sedru, Transvaal Bantu Rugby Board, old Saru, etc, and coalition members, current administrators of the game, current Saru and Sascoc members to deal with the issue of transformation, development and equity in rugby.
By refusing to expand the Currie Cup, Saru missed a golden opportunity meaningfully to address many of the challenges faced by rugby at present. Firstly, the challenge of the dwindling number of quality players because of the exodus of experienced players to high-paying rugby leagues in Europe and secondly, and more importantly, it would have improved its transformation score card.
Time and time again the argument against transformation has been that we need to win. We need our best players on the field, so that we remain an internationally renowned team and those selected or to be selected best players, it would appear, are predominantly white.
Most black players currently ply their trade in the First Division of the Currie Cup, so expanding the competition would have given Saru more players of colour in the premier competition.
The coalition calls for an inclusive, integrated and innovative process to follow the rugby indaba.
Zola Ntlokoma, secretary, Transformation Rugby Coalition, Port Elizabeth