AfriForum and Solidarity announced that they have obtained the first victory in their fight against quotas in sport. This comes after sports minister, Thulas Nxesi, today announced that the ban imposed on sports federations (SA Rugby, Cricket SA and Netball SA) to host international tournaments due to insufficient transformation, has been lifted. This announcement comes in the wake of the announcement by Solidarity and AfriForum last week that comprehensive legal steps to declare any form of interference in sport, including a self-imposed quota system, unlawful.
AfriForum and Solidarity contend that the agreed upon quotas are not only in breach of the law but are also violating agreed upon international norms.
In their court papers AfriForum and Solidarity seek an order in terms of which the court declares the Transformation Charter as basis of the quota system insofar as it pertains to demographic profiling, as invalid and that sporting bodies be prohibited to apply quotas when making team selections at national, provincial, club and at school level.
According to Solidarity’s Anton van der Bijl, they are delighted by the victory and the minister’s decision. It is, however, regrettable that one has to resort to litigation to make the minister and sporting bodies aware of their basic obligations as members of the international sports community.
“Although this announcement can be considered a victory it is but the first step of a long road to free South African sport of political interference. Our litigation to declare the quota system invalid goes ahead. We, and the public, are fed-up that transformation instead of merit has become the ultimate criterion when it comes to measuring performance. Every member of the public must claim the fundamental constitutional right to sport without political interference,” Van der Bijl said.
According to Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, the enforcement of racial quotas and political interference in South African sport are in direct violation of the rules and regulations of international sporting bodies.
“Although the lifting of the ban constitutes a victory, AfriForum will still proceed to send a delegation to various international sporting bodies within months to ensure sport without political intervention,” Kriel said.