The North Gauteng High Court has given the Springbok rugby team the green light to compete in the upcoming world cup in England.
The court stood down an urgent interdict application by Agency for New Agenda party to prevent the team from competing due to lack of transformation.
Despite that the first in a series of three public dialogues titled,” Our Boks 2015″, took place at Trafalgar High School in Cape Town Wednesday night.
Former Springbok coach, Pieter de Villiers, says the failure of South African Rugby (Saru) to truly transform is because of mistakes that were made by first democratically elected government in the country.
De Villiers was part of a panel, who took part in a heated debate about transformation in rugby at Trafalgar High School.
The debate was chaired by Western Cape High Court Judge, Siraj Desai and other panellists included author, Liz McGregor as well a representative of the Minister of Sport.
The run up to selection of the Springbok team for the World Cup has caused heated debate, particularly the lack of selection of Black players.
Speakers and members of the public commented on the lack of transformation in rugby, but also the inequality in the distribution of wealth in the country.
De Villiers, says we are still battling the legacies of South Africa’s past.
“Mandela said that sport has the ability to unite the nation, so he’s my hero, but he made one mistake, he forgave people who didn’t repent, who didn’t ask for forgiveness and those are the things that are coming to bite us now again,” says De Villiers.
Desai, says transformation should not only be limited to sport, but should be applied to our greater societies as well.
“Transformation, not simply in sport, but in broader society is important and what we hope to do here was to address the question of the imbalances in society, the constitutional responsibility to address the imbalances, but we are far from a nation in which all people are equal.”
The World Cup is about which is the best rugby team in that competition
Current Springbok coach, Heyneke Meyer and the South African Rugby Union (Saru) have been taking over the headlines recently with the majority of the population voicing their anger at the lack of transformation in rugby.
After much criticism Meyer included eight players of colour in his World Cup squad but the damage has already been done.
Author of the Book, “Springbok Factory”, Liz McGregor, says Saru should be investing more money in developing rugby in the Eastern and Western Cape.
“Saru has a lot of money at its disposal, almost a billion rand a year and I think instead of playing low-tier rugby, those guys should be playing semi-professional rugby, they should be taking that money and putting it into schools in the Eastern Cape that need the money.”
The leader of the Congress of the People (COPE), Mosioua Lekota, was also in attendance at the event. He says the right call now, is to support the team that will be representing the country at the World Cup in England.
“The World Cup is about which is the best rugby team in that competition. When they come back we can debate, the issues of transformation. Those are domestic issues, “says Lekota.
It was a lively debate that not only focused on rugby but the huge inequality between rich and poor, black and white that still exist in South Africa today.
The second dialogue will take place next Wednesday in Heidelberg, where Springbok Rugby World Cup squad member, Rudi Paige comes from.