Mpumalanga Sunbirds: Transformation quotas for South African Sport all about optics

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, regarding reports that the Mpumalanga Sunbirds netball team lost points after their winning match in Section B of the National League because they did not have enough demographic quota players on the field during the second quarter of their game.

The DA has always been against using the quota system when choosing teams for sports in South Africa. As is the case with the Sunbirds, the quota system often discriminates against talented players and diminishes the accomplishments of players that have worked extremely hard to develop their talent.

According to a DA source there are direct and implied threats by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture regarding funding to federations and sporting bodies who are bullied and intimidated about achieving transformation goals regarding team selection. These federations are dependent upon funding from the Department and not in a position to stand against it.

While transformation in sports should be an ongoing project and goal, forced transformation is to the detriment of the players and the development of the sport itself. Transformation can only ever truly be successful if it’s done at grassroot level to ensure that all talent is developed and that players are chosen on merit when they reach provincial and national levels. Transformation in its current form is nothing but optics and does nothing to create more development opportunities for young players.