Transformation still lagging in key areas: EPG report

Tokozile Xasa (former minister of Sport and Recreation). Picture: Grant Pitcher / Gallo Images

Tokozile Xasa (former minister of Sport and Recreation). Picture: Grant Pitcher / Gallo Images

Boardroom representation is looking healthy, but schools and women’s sport required attention.

While government is satisfied with some of the progress made in recent years, sports minister Tokozile Xasa says there are multiple areas of concern which still need to be addressed as part of a long-term transformation process.

According to the annual report released by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Transformation in Sport on Tuesday, school sport required more attention, as well as increased participation levels and the development of women’s sport.

There were areas, however, which had shown significant improvement.

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“We are encouraged by areas where we have made the most transformation: the election of black representatives to various sports boards,” Xasa said.

While most national federations had achieved targets which had been agreed upon with government, the latest EPG report revealed that some codes were still lagging.

Of the 19 federations which were audited by the EPG, only nine had achieved 50% of more of prescribed targets, including cricket, football, netball and rugby.

“Rugby is continuing to succeed in the transformation process and we’re pleased with the outcomes of the EPG report,” said SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux.

Athletics, which had previously been criticised by the EPG for failing to provide necessary data, was the only one of the country’s top five codes which achieved 30% or less of targets.

Areas which were considered as part of the scorecard, based on a new transformation charter, included access, skills and capacity development, demographics, performance, contribution to government priorities, and good governance.

According to the EPG, the general quality of data collection and reliability had improved over the last five years, which had resulted in a more solid foundation for transformation, but more resources were required to ensure progress in certain areas.

“After more than 23 years there is light at the end of the transformation tunnel,” said EPG member Willie Basson.

“The biggest challenges are in the areas of school sport and black African representation.”

Though quotas had repeatedly caused controversy both on and off the field over the last two decades, SRSA director general Alec Moemi insisted targets remained crucial to ensure black players were ultimately selected on merit.

“Nothing will create change in organisations quicker than changing the lens of performance measurement, as measurement and target setting are crucial enablers of change,” Moemi said.

He reiterated the differences, however, in government’s perspective between quotas and targets.

Whereas mandatory quotas were set by external bodies which expected fast results, Moemi said targets were “aspirational goals” set both internally and externally which required a long-term commitment.

“What we are truly engaged in is a reform process which is more gradual than rapid,” he said.

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