Stop blaming quotas

Simnikiwe Xabanisa

As someone who is employed to, among other things, troll rugby platforms – this one included – for the many issues my colleagues raise, I get amazed at how conveniently the so-called traditional rugby fan base blames quotas for everything they don’t like about the game.

A referee gets a decision wrong – it’s quotas. A player who is not in the running for the Springbok team becomes a multimillionaire overnight by signing for an overseas club –the quotas made him do it. The SA Rugby chief executive is facing fraud charges – you know the score.

Maybe I should start by explaining how a word which actually means “a fixed minimum or maximum number of a particular group of people allowed to do something” was introduced into our lexicon, came to mean black in rugby and has been divisive ever since.

Not long after “unity” in 1992, government – upon seeing that the coaches of the time insisted on selecting teams which resembled fantasy league sides from the 1970s Currie Cup scene – decreed that a minimum of two black players had to be accommodated at all times in all rugby teams.

Of course, it’s silly to impose percentages like that in a performance-based environment. But the truth is that they read rugby’s reluctance to integrate correctly because “minimum” became the maximum and, in time, evolved to two black wings – a metaphor for being put on the periphery of the game.

If you’re not buying it consider that, of the SA coaches who have landed overseas jobs in Europe or Japan (and who presumably have the budget to buy whoever they want), only Jake White has ever bought a black South African player.

This leads one to suspect they wouldn’t select black players in SA if they didn’t have to.

The reason I go through the comments section in rugby platforms is to gain a sense of what fans want to talk about.

But when on average the third comment is about quotas in response to a story that has nothing to do with that, the identikit formed of majority white rugby fans is that of people who don’t even try to sound rational in a discussion and have no compunction going the racist route to make a point that’s already going off at a tangent.

A week ago someone made a throwaway remark here that Sharks hooker Akker van der Merwe was a victim of quotas without substantiating it. Despite the more obvious fact that a 37-year-old Schalk Brits, plucked from retirement by the Bok coach, is standing in Akker’s way, nobody challenged that.

It’s also telling that Bongi Mbonambi has suddenly become an undeserving quota after being instrumental to the series win against England last June and bringing the heat in the closing stages of the game against France in November.

Another reader, responding to a Jake White column about rugby institutions maintaining their culture to keep succeeding, likened integration to, and I quote, “mixing shyte with ice cream”.

The fact that he was cowardly in hiding behind a pseudonym to make that analogy suggests he knows how staggeringly racist that was, but the bigger issue for me is that his statement went completely unchecked by his fellow readers, which sadly hints at some form of agreement.

There’s an irrational determination by rugby to fully integrating (note, it’s integrate and not overrun it with black people, as the fear seems to be) the sport even though logic suggests it could only be beneficial.

A few years ago Steve Hansen came out in sympathy for Heyneke Meyer because the selection policies of the country were supposedly tying his hands behind his back.

While the rest of us see being encouraged to select a national team from a slightly broader base than just the eight percent white minority Meyer seemingly wanted to select from, the former Bok coach somehow saw it as limiting that he wasn’t allowed to pick his whole team from Pretoria.

The only way forward for South African rugby, which is dying a slow death because it refuses to evolve at every level, is tapping into a market it hasn’t before. The stubborn refusal to will hasten its demise.

- Simnikiwe Xabanisa

Let's chat

  • Barry

    X, a really silly article put out in the interests of trying to push peoples buttons!

    The reality is that whilst you have any form of controlled selection, questions will be asked, that simple and it’s not likely to change any time soon. Get rid of the system and you’ll get rid of the complaints!

    • David

      We should scrap all “Springbok” caps given before 1994 and call those “quota based selections” and not representative of a merit based system!!

      • Barry

        Yes David that would be really helpful wouldn’t it, to penalize a bunch of players for a system that they did not create! In a mature society one learns from your mistakes and tries to avoid making them a second time. Trying to retroactively address history serves no purpose other than to cause contempt. It’s about making the future better – about looking forward not backwards!

  • SweetAz

    I think I”ll “cowardly” stay out of this one and go fetch myself some popcorn to eat while I watch the various commissions of enquiry into the trillions of Rands looted from the country by a government that feels so threatened by a tiny minority it has to actively legislate against their participation in all spheres of society.
    The only country in the world where affirmative action is needed to uplift the majority population which has had total control of all governmental structures for a quarter of a century.

    Penny Sparrow has taught us that anonymity is a requirement if you like ice cream or free speech. Julius Malema and just about the entire government hates ice cream (and free speech). I think I need a lie-down, I have brain freeze from too much ice cream.

    • Lesedi Mookapele

      Sir – that is not true, Malaysia is in that bracket too.

      • SweetAz

        Also,-Malaysia does not have the same gargantuan demographic imbalance. The Malay majority is only about 50% of the population.

      • SweetAz

        Interesting,-I did not know that. Do they have the same problems with corruption and nepotism? Reading this article would indicate they believe the policy needs modifying or to be scrapped as its failing on many levels.

        https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/08/20/time-to-act-on-malaysias-affirmative-action/

        Whereas in South Africa it would seem the policy is regarded as not going far enough.

    • Wesley

      BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

      • SweetAz

        BOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO

    • Realist

      Your drivel holds no water.

      • Barry

        People are entitled to their opinions. You don’t agree with this gents, fair enough, but then at least have the strength of character and conviction to say why not?

        • Faiek Galant

          Please, you mention things like strength of character and conviction, know your audience. He wont reply

        • Wesley

          We have done so on many occasion, constantly and all attempting to base fact with our own opinions. Debate is fine, I can converse with any of the “anti-quota”, “pro-quota” and “quota non-believers”, but this person has racially incited the debate many times such as gems like the ice-cream rant above, racist sayings such as the one in the previous Jake column, and stating the “inferiority of black persons” in any professional setting many times over. Its like arguing with a pigeon.

          But don’t ban him though, I’m just gonna have my fun then.

          • SweetAz

            Waitttttttttt forrrrr itttttttt,—BOO. You have no idea what debate means, you build your case on preconceived notions and rhetoric with absolutely no factual basis. You then expound upon these notions and logical fallacies endlessly and expect people to take you seriously? Get a grip man, black people, in general, are intellectually inferior, it is a fact proven by standardized testing over and over again.
            Young black males are more likely to commit crime due to well-established factors like excessive testosterone and poor impulse control. These are just two FACTS,-I can carry on like this but its a pointless exercise
            This is not racist, facts cant be racist,–they are just facts.

            Until you are prepared to admit the truth it’s a pointless exercise conversing with you. Your refuge is to resort to name calling and closing your eyes and ears.

            Like a little child.

          • Lesedi Mookapele

            The very existence of the quota system rehabilitates the notion of black inferiority. There was no quota system in America after the civil rights movement, why do you think this is?

  • Nicholas

    Great article Mr. Xabanisa!

    The sooner people realise that transformation is the best thing for South African rugby as opposed to its nemesis, the better.

    “If you’re not buying it consider that, of the SA coaches who have landed overseas jobs in Europe or Japan (and who presumably have the budget to buy whoever they want), only Jake White has ever bought a black South African player.

    This leads one to suspect they wouldn’t select black players in SA if they didn’t have to”

    BARS!

    • Craig

      I feel quotas are an insult to all player bkck, white, coloured, Indian etc as this would always leave the question am I in the team because I am the best player or because of my skin colour. Transformation should always start from the bottom and work its way up. I agree we need transformation in all sports, rugby, cricket and soccer to name a few, but it needs to start at school level and then work its way up to the pinnacle of that sport. I feel we we don’t focus enough attention on the ground level cause everyone wants to be at the top, give the youngster a chance to shine, give schools the facilities and the help train the coaching staff to produce better trained players and you will see how fast transformation takes place and without having to implement a quota system

      • Sharky

        Craig, I’ve gotta agree with you. But that’s how the ANC rolls – they build their houses from the roof down and ignore the need for a foundation. We see that with affirmative action being pushed with little interest in improving education. The net result of that is things like Eskom’s skills shortage.

        Why do they do this? Because the people are impatient and they want results now, now, NOW!. No one is going to wait a decade or two for properly qualified black people to come through the education system. And if the people aren’t happy then the ANC will lose votes and the fat cats will lose their place at the trough. Sod the fact that these actions are detrimental in the long-term.

        The same logic is applied to sports quotas. Rather than hire a team of scouts to identify the most promising black schoolboy talent at u10/11/12/13 level and provide bursaries for them to attend the best rugby schools with the best coaches, the powers that be rather focus on senior sides. Net result is that potential black superstars never get the chance to become professionals and we are left being forced to pick players from the fraction of the black population that has had access to decent coaching at school. That’s short-sighted and just plain stupid!

        • Louis

          I agree but there is another reason and that is to keep deviding white and black. To enforce conflict. This way they will always be in power. Keep the majority dumb. Promise and deliver nothing and blame apartheid.
          Its all about power and money.

          • Sharky

            Yeah, unfortunately it’s simple maths: the population is 80% black so if the ANC plays race politics, perpetuates racial animosity and can convince most of them that the white man is the devil and the DA is his racist political vehicle then they will win every election from now until the end of time.

    • Barry

      Ok, so you can copy and paste, but there’s no point in your post at all. If your going to make a point you need to explain your position and substantiate it with some fact!

      • SweetAz

        Like you said Barry its an article designed to push buttons with many inconsistencies and factual errors. To take just one,-to conflate demographics with participation by asserting an 8% part of the population is over-represented is simply ignorant.
        The fact is black people prefer many other sports to participate in, rugby is not their first choice. There could be many reasons for it but suffice to say, it is their choice.
        Any logical thinking person would then base a quota on participation demographics instead of arbitrary racial demographics,—–which themselves would need a DNA test.
        On ve ovver hand Darryn, some people could just fallaciously assert that race is a social construct and that the team is whatever you want it to appear to be.

  • jaco

    as expected, here come the ‘white is right’ boys.

    • SweetAz

      Yeah, Jake is a pretty good coach,- even won a world cup.

      • Wesley

        BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

      • Johan

        White has an impressive record:

        Winning the Tri Nations (2004)
        Winning the World Cup (2007)
        Taking South Africa from 6th on the IRB World Rankings (2003) to 1st (2007)
        IRB International Coach of the Year (2004, 2007)
        Biggest score ever achieved by a Springbok side (134–3 against Uruguay in 2005)
        First home series win against France since 1975
        First victory over the All Blacks at Newlands since 1976
        Consecutive wins against Australia and New Zealand for the first time since 1998
        Most successful South African team at home in the history of Springbok rugby, undefeated at home in 11 tests (they would extend this streak to 13)
        First South African team to beat Australia 3 times in the same year since 1971
        First South African team to beat Australia in Australia since 1998

        • Sharky

          Yup, but like they say: “Haters are gonna hate.”

  • Wesley

    X, i do like the column, especially raising the point that any article with a comments section on SA rugby will definitely devolve in a quota screaming match, whether the article raises the point or not. Although I must admit, I went and poked the bear out of its nasty cage on the previous Jake column, but we all know it was inevitable anyway. The rugby public is a nasty one, vocally so from both sides it seems, as when they see some prominent figure on the other side of the colour spectrum seemingly “screwing up”, they jump on the bandwagon to bash them, even without knowing the facts first – Ashwin vs Mallett / Botha, Siya being made captain when he himself admitted he wasn’t perhaps playing his best etc etc ad infinitum. Hopefully this is only a vocal minority, kind of like extreme left- and right-wingers.

    But I must question your comment, “the eight percent white minority Meyer seemingly wanted to select from”. As a journalist, any basis of fact you derived that from? Meyer never publicly voiced his displeasure, or well not that I know of. Hansen, from his “know nothing about the social dynamics in SA” standpoint had something to say about it, and we take this as gospel as if its from Meyers point of view? Please explain.

    • Barry

      The bear in the cage is not the people that talk out against racial selection, but rather the system itself. As I said earlier, get rid of the system and you’ll get rid of the complaints!

      This particular debate is racially inspired, but imbalance in any forum creates dissent, be it religious, gender, or otherwise. It’s a form of prejudice and for good reason it doesn’t sit well with people!

      You are spot on, there are a load of inaccurate statements and summations in X’s Post, but it was about pushing buttons, so I really wouldn’t be too bothered in taking him to task, it’s what he’s looking for.

      Hopefully there will be something tomorrow about rugby!

      • Wesley

        How about you take on X and “have the strength of character and conviction to say why not?”

        Barry?

        • Barry

          Perhaps re-read my second last paragraph. Hopefully you’ll understand it.

          • Wesley

            Excuse me, could you say that again? ONLY racial hatred is coming from me? And I’m sharing this space with someone who thinks an inclusive society equates to mixing shyte with ice cream, a person and position you defend as free speech? Goodness, but sorry Barry it seems we have gotten to the end of the rope with this one….

          • Barry

            I can read just fine thanks. The only racial hatred at the moment is coming from you. The reality is that the “quota system” internationally no longer has any support, in fact there is now huge lobby against it. It is only in SA where politician with political baggage use it for divisive means. The rest of us have moved on. It is on borrowed time, so enjoy the moment!

          • Wesley

            Nope, because if you read X’s entire column instead of seeing it as an attack on “anti-quota” persons such as yourself, you will see its goes much further in advocating an inclusive system. He actually clarifies it by saying: “it’s integrate and not overrun it with black people, as the fear seems to be”. Integrating and actually expanding the pool of potential.

            And also calling out the idiots spewing racial hatred on this forum as well as in extension at braais, pubs, gatherings AND sport portfolio committees (both sides) which is fueling even more hatred, which is necessary.

  • Albert

    I agree completely that the old norm of picking whites over other colours needs to be stamped out, but you don’t do that at the top level. As with everything, you start at the foundation. You get systems into place, where guys like Gellant, Dyantyi, Am, Mapimpi et al can develop and be known for being the best or thereabouts in their positions. And as you can see, the players above are all deserving of their positions. Add to that Beast, Kolisi, Kolbe and Mbonambi and you have 8 players right there who are top 2 in their positions.

    Also, as a winger, I take offence at saying the wings are at the periphery of the game. Look at Dyantyi, Habana, Kolbe, Johnny May, Ringrose, Savea and other international wingers. The impact they have on a game of rugby is no less than any other player, and sometimes they can single handedly change the course of a match.

    But I digress, we have the players in the country right now, but would you choose Mbonambi to start ahead of Marx? would it make sense to choose Marvin Ori over Eben Etzebeth? It is no longer a question of skin colour in my opinion, it should and always be a question of merit. Let’s be completely honest for a second, the government directive of 50% players of colour is actually a racial directive that would never be tolerated in any other country. But the unique history of South Africa makes it far more about righting the wrongs than being a wrong in itself.

    I agree that someone like Britz is keeping out Akker and not Mbonambi. Those who believe otherwise are emotional and couldn’t see the wood for the trees. As I said, it is a unique country with unique issues. We ALL need to be more sensitive to each other. If you are born and raised in South Africa, you are South African, and by extension, AFRICAN.

  • Nick

    ‘Free Speech’ Sweetaz calls it. In the first world we call it hate speech. What a deeply embarrassing reflection of South Africa, Interesting that the UCT coach who runs this site thinks its all just lekker banter.

    Good Article Simnikwe.

    • SweetAz

      LOL, —South Africa is most certainly NOT first world, it may have once been but now is very well on its way to what his esteemed highness and lord poobah the HONORRRRRABLE Donald Trump calls a —-shithole.
      So your definition of free speech is whatever YOU like,–how quaint. Really interesting to me, is how your first reaction is to try and de-platform someone by attacking a host who has no obligation under law to be the arbitrator of what is hate and free speech.

    • Barry

      Ah Nick, are you talking about the free world where racial selection are not only shunned but plain illegal – is that the free world your talking about perhaps?

      If you don’t agree with some ones post, then have the balls to tell them why, rather than trying to call on the Editors support.

      Racial selection is South Africa’s detractor and a major embarrassment to the free world, not the people that criticize it. If you don’t agree, maybe continue your debate with our National Captain. He’s quite black and quite fed up with the racial selection policy!

      • Wesley

        If you perhaps have an unbalanced viewpoint, then yes it may seem like an embarrassment. Watching “conservative” and right-wing media and only that in an echo-chamber of your own opinion, then you are bound to label it a “embarrassment”. Same for complete left-wingers, sitting in their opposite chamber where they demand quota at all expense. They are all the same coin, just different sides. They are both embarrassing in their argument or statement.The government may be filled with these leftists, that may be true, but if you believe in a balanced approach with righting the wrongs of the past and can argue as such – like what we have seen to date in bits and pieces from the national selectors with Rassie as the frontman – I feel very confident we are on the correct path.

        Stop this “with us or against us” mentality. Stop the fearmongering, stop the hate and stop the bullsh#t.

        • Barry

          That’s the view of the free world Wesley – Racial selections are illegal in every sporting code in the world. So take a beep breathe and consider for a moment whether the rest of the world have got it wrong or whether it’s you? I advocate none racial selections, if any thing that’s a bit left wing!

          • Wesley

            Never said those politicians were right and that I agree… Read Barry, READ!!!!

          • Barry

            Wesley you need to separate Transformation and racial selections, they are different subjects.

            The growing of our player base to include all South Africans has everyone’s support, with very few exceptions. Why in the hell would Coaches not want to draw from a large pool instead of a small one?

            The problem is that the Politicians jumped a million miles from lets work to get everyone included to lets have a 50% quota system, regardless of whether there is enough talent or justification to do that.

            The first mission is a noble one the other is racist, prejudicial and damaging to both Nation and Sport!

          • Wesley

            Again you are missing the point of my comment, but I can only attribute it to the “us vs them” mentality. True it is illegal on surface implementation, such as my example of a “extreme leftist” view which calls for quota at all cost. But a balanced view between inclusion and performance is the right path, as what the “free world” you are referring to is actually embracing, but which is not without its challenges. I don’t advocate for quotas, entirely the opposite, but at top level I don’t believe they exist at all. Only those stuck in their echo chambers believe its as simple as it seems on the surface. But looking deeper and interlacing the facts from all sides bring on a much clearer picture of the correct way forward. Reality of the socio-political landscape in SA does require those of high potential but perhaps “lesser means” to be included for success in the long term. We need to grow and manage the pool, not fish the hell out of one corner for short term benefit.

            And those using Dyantyi as example of the system creating success: He was actually almost lost to SA rugby because of his size (an exclusion based on his outward appearance) at Dale, and it took a couple of lucky shots and a inclusive coach (Mac Masina) to drag him back, and the rest is history.

    • Wesley

      Nick I’m with you, but instead of blaming the UCT coach for hosting such an idiot and responding anymore, lets keep “the banter” open and just BOOOOO any comment he leaves on here. Yeah, he might “enjoy” all the attention, but that will make him look like even more of an idiot. You with me? I’ve already started the campaign above.

      • SweetAz

        So far, the only idiot is you, every comment you make, including this one, just confirms it.

  • boyo

    “A week ago someone made a throwaway remark here that Sharks hooker Akker van der Merwe was a victim of quotas without substantiating it. Despite the more obvious fact that a 37-year-old Schalk Brits, plucked from retirement by the Bok coach, is standing in Akker’s way, nobody challenged that”

    I think you need to spend a bit more time on the forums if you haven’t seen fans having a go at Britz. We have enough fights on the boards without getting into race so most will just leave it. As a white South African we I am very scared to express anything but the most PC views on race in sport.

    If you read my comments though you will see I am genuinely a long time supporter of Transformation because as you say I want rugby to grow and reach as many people as possible so that my teams perform better. In order to do that we do need a side representing all walks of life and we also need the public to have access to watch that side(SABC) and we need that side to win.

    Quotas though for me are not the way as they have hurt POC careers as well, with most who are 100% deserving being forced to question their place and ability.

    We seeing improvement at provincial level with 3/4 provinces last week starting 6 POC and all deserving and I would suggest most through either private or model C schools. Here is the problem the government has done absolutely nothing to help transform the game and then seeks to impose these quotas.

    • SweetAz

      I have watched Britz for a long time, most Saffers don’t know him because he has played most of his rugby overseas. Even at 37 he is a world class hooker that brings experience, leadership, dynamism and an awareness of space to the game, he IS what Dane Coles aspires to be. Rassie knows this because he has coached in the UK. Even now I would rate both him and Bismark Du Plessis ahead of ANY hooker in SA, including Akker and Marx. Mbonambi and Co are a distant 5th on my pecking order. For the rest I agree with you,-I have no issues with transformation through a process starting in schools but at elite and especially Profesional levels it is absolutely discrimination.

  • Lesedi Mookapele

    Sir – it seems your grievance is wholly misplaced. Your time and energy would be best placed ridiculing a system in which there is no definitive end nor any measure in which to judge its success. How can anyone know if a player is selected for “integration” which you deem as “logical” or on merit? Your post is completely blind to this fact.

    A cursory glance of SA history affirms the deleterious effects of dividing society along racial lines, and therefore the burden of proof rests with the purveyors of divisive racially charged policies. At what point do we reach integration, how best do we decide on an arbitrary figure, and why do you not think SA rugby is not integrated today?

    “Human beings should not be willing partners in perpetuating a system of racial discrimination. Sportsmen (and sportswomen) have a special duty in this regard in that they should be first to insist that merit, and merit alone, be the criterion for selecting teams for representative sport.” Abdul Minty ANC member addressing the United Nations

    • Greg Shark

      Clever reply!
      The original article simply regurgitates a subjective view point and liberally references previous article comments that suit the agenda. However, what the writer fails to note (intentionally) is that the serving comments tend to come from just less than a handful of commentators who can be relied on to use the word “quotas” to answer any failures. Then also, it is noted that factually it is well known that Brits keeps Akker out of the Bok team whether or not Akkers is better than Mbonambi or not!
      I have yet to read of a rugby ref decision being referred to as “quotas”….

      Anyway, a TROLL is a TROLL in anybody’s’ language and unashamedly the writer Xabanisa admits to that. Rise to his bait and you deserve to waste your time!

    • SweetAz

      Well done, a sensible comment. You, sir, are a thinker. Pity you are in such a small minority.

  • Colin M de Beer

    Dear Mr Xabanisa, I did a piece back in 2015 that I would like you to read… Here is the link…. https://utterrugbyrant.blogspot.com/2015/08/as-nation-south-africa-deserves-whole_15.html?spref=fb&fbclid=IwAR3QckV_4BG0gQWZRYUs0WOB5nAdhdTZSCDTM8XrYjkGkjMwezTfEY4aZrg

  • Sharky

    There’s a very simple answer to this conundrum – knock the legs out from under “racist” quota comments by abolishing the quota system. That way we’ll know that the players chosen are there because the selectors/coach really believe that they are the best players available. Disapproving comments will then revert to criticising the selectors/coach for poor selections – like we did back in the bad old days!

    As a concept “quotas” have done more damage than good. Because of quotas a black player who is out of form is deemed a “quota” – only there because of the colour of his skin – while an out-of-form white player is simply a bad selection. This heaps more pressure on black players to continually perform lest they be labelled a quota. It also sews doubt in the minds of the rest of the team – is X here because he’s black or is he here because the coach actually sees him as an asset to the team. The net result is that our teams take the field with a disadvantage irrespective of whether the black members of the team deserve their place or not.

  • Ulrich

    FIsh n chips shop crashboy and alleged golf club thief is the last quota I can think of. Prior to him it was Watson. Other than that I think everyone has deserved their opportunity.

    If discovery bank can hand out a share of the company to black people then surely Multichoice can create a DSTV tier at R250 or so that’s only applicable to black people. That way they can watch the game and perhaps start playing it at school.

    Furthermore the government need to maintain / upgrade facilities at predominantly black schools and incentivise children and coaches to become part of the rugby culture at those schools.

    • John Comyn

      Great comment. While I know a lot is being done on the ground there has to be more done to bring the game to the majority of the people in SA. It is starting to get traction as we are seeing some outstanding players coming through at senior level.

  • John Comyn

    I made the throw away remark re Akker in response to Barry bleating about Rassie having an issue with the Sharks and taking his orders from Remgro in terms of selection. It was certainly not meant to be racist but rather a case of the coach being covered at hooker with Marx, Bongi and Britz (presumably being selected to impart experience about the opposition having played with and against them for many years). It therefore would have made sense for Rassie to leave Akker out and give a player of colour an opportunity to be part of the setup. “victim is probably the wrong word”. No slight on Bongi or any other player in the side. Fact is I’m a big Bongi fan!

    • SweetAz

      Yeahhh Naaaahhh, Bongi and Marx have both cost us tests with poor throwing into the lineout. Compared to Britz they are both substandard throwers. Britz is quicker and has more acceleration than both of them, better hands and spatial awareness as well. Marx is good over the ball and Bongi is good at the tail of a rolling maul.
      Britz is a better all-around player than both of them. I saw touches of the Britz factor in that Bulls game against Argentina and he will only improve as he returns to match fitness. People tend to forget he was in a different part of his season conditioning and fatigue wise when Rassie selected him,–plus he was already in retirement mode.
      It’s a fact that experience is what brings international success,- I’m hoping with the new rules Rassie brings back Bismark as well, I’ve never been a Marx fan, he only rose to prominence because there really was nobody else.

  • Nick

    Barry. Racist abuse is racist abuse. I feel sorry for you. I really do.

    • Barry

      Yes it certainly is Nick, exclude players because of the colour of their skin, sickens me to the core! Why is it that it doesn’t trouble you?

  • Nick

    Fair enough Wesley. I see your point. It sickens me though.

  • BERNARDT

    Whites definitely use the quota card the same way most black people play the race card,90% of the time race has nothing to do with it. But I believe that the system is broken…Then choosing a team when competing at the highest levels (Super Rugby and National teams) race shouldn’t play a roll at all.The best should be selected.IN ALL SPORTS. SA Rugby should invest at grass root levels,the previously disadvantage kids should be taken to Rugby clinics and be given the best coaching and equipment.Give them opportunities even 99% of white kids never had,opportunities most white kids also dream of and wish they had,to level the playing field.BUT select om Merit!!!
    Siya got the opportunity to move to a big school when he was a child and there he was couched by some of the best,and look here he is today.Throwing race into selections in sport only divides our Nation…because its Blacks vs Whites

  • Nick

    Barry. I’ll speak slowly for you…..I said first world, not free world you moron . Totally different concepts.

    • Lesedi Mookapele

      “In the first world” policies are written with well defined outcomes and iterative review processes. Perhaps you can enlighten the 77% of South African morons that prefer teams to be picked on merit (SA institute of race relations, 2016).

    • Barry

      It is funny how people of limited IQ resort to name calling when they have nothing else to offer. The point Nick is that the rest of the “responsible” world have shunned racial selection, it is at the core of every sporting code in the world, yet you try and convince us that its great for South Africa??

  • Nick

    Do you really think affirmative action in various does not exist in other parts of the world? eg USA UK? Really Barry?

    • SweetAz

      Affirmative action exists in those parts,—-Its designed to assist a disadvantaged MINORITY who has no recourse to education or legal structures.

      IT IS NOT DESIGNED TO BENEFIT A MAJORITY WHO HAS FULL CONTROL OF EVERY SINGLE THING IN THE COUNTRY TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF A TINY MINORITY.

    • Barry

      Affirmative action in USA & UK, no certainly not. Occasion racial prejudice, yes quite likely, but that doesn’t make it right or justify having it in our sports in SA does it. It is no less nice there than it is here!

  • Colin M de Beer

    I am just curious… If you had a brain tumor that needed to be removed, would you prefer the surgeon to be a top of his/her class Harvard graduate (no matter the race or sexuality), or would you settle for the doctor that didn’t pass his or her first year at Varsity (no matter the race or sexuality) but was passed anyway because off or based on demo-graphical requirements. I am very curious… Would you fly in a plane if you knew for a fact that merit was not the only thing that particular pilot was appointed on…..?

    You can sugarcoat it all you want, but transformation can never be forced down on sport from the top. Transformation is something the Governing Bodies need to apply with the youth and with the development of youngsters. Take the game of Rugby to schools and to kids who can’t afford a proper pitch, or boots or balls or coaches!!! That is transformation.

    • SweetAz

      That is far too logical Colin,-you must be a racist.

  • Wesley

    Colin, I agree, but the way you describe it doesn’t happen in the real world.

    A doctor or a pilot cannot just pass because of “demographics”. But what they can do is include as much as possible persons in the beginning to start their career, and see who come out on top, which exactly what you are advocating for in your second paragraph, and which I fully endorse.

    There are good and there are bad doctors even after all the training (some go to better schools, some just get a crappy education due to not being able to finance their start in life). But they don’t pass the professional competency exams (same for everybody in a certain country) because they are “let through” What we need to do is bridge the gap as what you are advocating for.

    • Colin M de Beer

      Dear Wesley. Thanx for your reply.
      The argument based on the doctor or the pilot is just to illustrate that everyone would prefer the best when it comes to their safety. When I spend my money, I want to know that I am spending it on the best possible product that I can afford, and so too when I spend my time or money on a sport, I would like to know that it’s the best players out on the pitch, regardless of their race or color. The point I am trying to make is that racism is wrong, on all levels. The mere fact that we refer to the player’s color or race is offensive in my opinion. By setting up restrictions in terms of selection policies based on race or demographics, we are exposing our players to unfair critics and criticism. Why can’t we just for once see the players as South Africans……..?

      • Wesley

        It is offensive, I agree, and like I said to Barry I am not for racially selecting players, although it really doesn’t seem to register. The government divides us with some talk or policy and we fall for it. What I am saying is what X, I believe, is trying to convey in his message – an inclusive system, not a racially charged one. But somehow, people can’t see the difference. They see some politician spewing something, and think, OH JEEZ ITS LAW NOW, US WHITEYS ARE BEING OPPRESSED! Thats crap.

        He also calls out the very true fact of people seeing colour when it comes to certain selections in the Springbok camp. Referring to the article example: In my opinion, Bongi is the 2nd best hooker we have behind Marx, Akker 3rd. Brits doesn’t even register in my opinion, but perhaps Rassie has his reasons, just like the rest of us perhaps saying Akker ahead of Bongi or whatever. Now just by saying this, people I have conversed with over this topic will immediately attack me saying Bongi is just there because of colour and I’m supporting quotas. It was never even part of the discussion, but still it rears its ugly head. We as South Africans have to stop with this behavior. The gov can do what they want, to hell with them. I’m saying, at the top level, let us not quibble about these things, the guys deserve to be there, all of them, and see them as South Africans.

  • boyo

    Does the writer not responding to comments mean he agrees with them? “but the bigger issue for me is that his statement went completely unchecked by his fellow readers, which sadly hints at some form of agreement.”

  • Nick

    Pardon me ….’ In various FORMS..’

    Sorry Barry. You’re ignorant and deluded. They do.

    • Winger

      Yeah, it does probably exist in various forms. That is why Trump happened, and Brexit.

      People in general are racist. They will always check to see if the “other” is getting a leg-up that they may be missing out on.

      As for “hate speech”, you are deluded. Go back to the Constitution (better give it a capital letter. It may not be with us for ever) and look at the definition of hate speech. A racist rant is not necessarily hate speech, unless it has the purpose to incite harm. Free speech is really the bedrock of all freedoms. If you support free speech, you should defend a racists right to be racist, even though it pushes bile up your throat. Freedom of speech gives you the right to offend and the right to be offended. This fragility of society towards offence will kill all conversation and all comedy pretty soon.

      Because of our true racist nature and distrust of “the other”, this over-sensitivity is just killing conversation. Everybody is soooo easily offended, that I would always prefer conversing only with people I trust and who think exactly the way I do. That way, nobody will haul me before an equality court or very soon, unless some NGO saves the Constitution again, a criminal court. The new hate speech bill is clearly in breach of the Constitution and poor Penny was definitely unfairly treated. But society is so sensitive to racism, that not even Afriforum was willing to take up her cause.

      So, here we are, locked in a conversationless society, because we are afraid to offend. Damn. It is boring.

      • Wesley

        I agree, Sweet can be racist as much as he wants, i will defend that right, no problem. But in my free speech opinion, he is an idiot. A fringe group. A nothing. A blip on the radar. Us white South Africans does not predominantly share his opinions, and that is a FACT.

        • SweetAz

          Really, can you substantiate those assertions? Methinks your leftist echo chamber is much smaller than you think,-toilet sized in fact.

      • SweetAz

        Damnnnn, somebody who actually get it. Have a Bells on me.

    • Barry

      Nothing else to offer hey Nick, so resort to name calling! I support the international sports code on Racial Selections, so that would be me and oh, the rest of the world, so maybe consider who’s on the outside in this debate, it certainly isn’t me!

      • Wesley

        To be fair Barry, you called us people of limited IQ…. Nice

        • Barry

          My post was to Nick, seems a bit of an inferiority thing going on there Wesley. Anyway if your enjoying the cap,it’s all yours!

          • Wesley

            Nope, just showing your double standards. Pretty much how the conversation went:

            Barry: “name calls”
            Nick:”name calls back”
            Barry: “is shocked”

        • Winger

          After the name calling. ne?

  • John Comyn

    I think what most people here are missing is Simnikiwe is saying players of color have been ignored despite being good enough. He very definitely has a point. I do not think Rassie is but there is a case to be made with others. In short he is saying stop using “quota” everytime your favorite misses out. In my view he has got it spot on.

    • Lesedi Mookapele

      I’m afraid you are missing the point.The fundamental issue is race based discrimination in SA sports. It was evil under apartheid and it is just as evil today.

    • Barry

      Like who John, who has been overlooked? Who has been knocking the door down for Springbok selection and has been overlooked, on the basis that they are a person of colour?

      Erasmus is desperately trying to fill his 50% allocation, so if he’s missed a trick, we really need to hear it?

      • Wesley

        True, i dont think anybody is being overlooked, white of black…

  • William Botha

    Another good article, Mr X!

    The only issue I have is that your data derives from a small, but vocal, part of the rugby community. I am not sure you can make the assumption that they speak for the rugby public, 99% of whom do not take part in these forums …

    I regularly watch sevens, in person or on the screen, fifteens on the screen (very little quality rugby in the USA) and it is quickly apparent to the casual observer that those Bok rugby fans cheer a South African try or a lineout steal or a thumping tackle regardless of skin color. These are the people who actually pay to watch their team play and – I’d suggest – there are ten times more of them at a single game than all of the trolls on the net combined.

    My penny-worth on the subject…

  • Alberto

    If a white pundit wrote this piece, he would be charged with racism, or at least fired – so if the question were to be risked – who are the broadbased racists you are referring to…?
    No real athlete wants to be selected on anything but merit – yet when Siya said that, he was almost hounded out of the country – and there was no racism in that…?

    Fact is that you can scream your white hate in parliament and that is fine…is it really…?

    Equals or superiors do not act that way – and therein lies the answer to your problem – not that you were looking for one….

    • Barry

      Thanks Alberto, it is valuable input because it comes from Argentina and gives some perspective on how the real word sees this nonsense, without any axe to grind either way!

    • Lesedi Mookapele

      People of colour have become so used to special treatment that the idea of equal treatment strikes them as racist.

      • SweetAz

        I’ll vote for you, no people of colour will, but I will. I’m just funny that way.

  • SweetAz

    I don’t like baked beans, never have and never will. Just something about the taste, smell and texture I find absolutely repulsive. I don’t go around destroying every baked bean, I just don’t like them. I love Jelly Beans though.

    My basic human right to choose what I like and don’t like comes to the fore here, baked beans may have hurt feeling and feel offended but that is THEIR CHOICE,–not a right.

    Yes, you guessed it —I’m a BEANIST.

  • Tobokani

    This journalist needs to decide whether he wants to be a sports Columnist or a political columnist. Too many of his articles have political undertones to them.. More Columnists need to be like ‘Oom rugby’ because you always leave knowing more about the game itself after reading his articles. Racist trolls will always exist and the less attention we pay them, the better, because they thrive on confrontation.

    • boyo

      Love Oom cant get enough of his articles. I played rugby and learned less than I learn from his stuff.

  • Dean Bright

    It’s the system that is the problem, even Siya alluded to it in an interview recently. As long as there are targets in place at international level, players of colour will feel insecure in that they may have been picked for the wrong reasons. On the other hand, players who miss out might use it as an excuse as to why they weren’t picked. The transformation targets would never be in place if SA rugby and the government took control at grass roots level and tapped into the talent from the majority there. The Blitzboks are a prime example of forward planning and excellent talent scouting. Nobody ever says they are a quota team or that they lose because of this reason. If somebody does then they are in the very small minority who will never change their wayward opinion.

    Rassie has already publicly stated that the team must transform and he made massive strides last year. He picked squads that were well represented and on merit. He struck the balance. There’s no need to put the extra pressure on a Bok coach who already has that goal in mind with ridiculous targets for a World Cup. How do you expect him to pick a 50% represented squad if the top 4 teams in the country don’t do it EVER. They barely pick 4 in their starting lineup. The target is unrealistic.

    • Wesley

      Siya alluded to the problems of politicians yes, and I agree, but the core comment actually bemoaned the fact the bottom structure of SA rugby; schools, education, nutrition, especially predominantly black schools, are being neglected, by those same politicians, and they didn’t like that. Hence them being “disappointed” with him. Thats total bull.

      I can tell you now, that target of 50% given out by clueless politicians means only as a target in Rassies mind, not an end all and be all. He has said so as well in a very open minded and sensitive manner. That shows class. Its got to do with the forward planning and as a director of rugby (where long term planning in all structures is the goal), I’m sure he has that in mind, and all his comments on the subject has alluded to this.

      Why are we so obsessed with what politicians say, and not listening and supporting a coach and team that has a plan in mind. It shows in his selections. A balance.

    • SweetAz

      Well its easy mate,—4 teams with 4 black starters ergo 4×4=16 that equals 50% of the squad of 32. And that is exactly the problem,—-those 4 may be the best for their franchise in their positions but that does not translate into being the BEST ONE in that position nationwide.
      And that is why Ralepele, Mahoje, Nyakane and a few others are and always will be QUOTA selections.
      Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

      • Wesley

        Why even bother hey Sweet? Why invest in those 4 starters anyway? I mean, they all inferior to any white man anyway, am I right???? We don’t want any “gesteek” in the rucks when the “inferior” players have gone to ground, right buddy?

        We should rather all invest in those strong big Afrikaner boere, creating a super race of national rugby players, because hey, anything and anybody else is inferior, right Sweet?

        ‘Tips fedora with my superior intellect’

        • SweetAz

          You should stop posing as a white person, it’s quite obvious that you are either a half-naaitje or an adoptee from some Catholic Mission in Kyalitsha or Guguletu. You irritate both black and white people. Must be really sad to be so confused.

          • Wesley

            Fine run away, go think of other great things you fantastic intellectual marvel you! Sleep tight. Just watch out for those long knives! Ooooh!!!!!!

          • SweetAz

            Like I said, boring. All the usual tropes from the intellectually challenged.

          • Wesley

            Awh we were having such fun! I was about to be marveled by you amazing intellect. Tell me, what was going through your mind when writing Mein Kampf? I mean, it must all be your original thought? Or even that well and self-thought out joke from the other day? The “lê en steek” one. Or the ice-cream and shyte comparison? What genius! Its been used by overt racists and white supremacists the world over! You must be very proud?

          • SweetAz

            I’m bored now, you are boring and predictable as all ideologues are. Nothing original or self-generated, just boring leftist Marxist Frankfurt school ideology.
            Do you even have a thought you can call your own?

          • SweetAz

            Ok, so now that we’ve established you’re a bastard we just need to confirm whether your mother was paid for her services or whether she did it for “fun”?

          • Wesley

            From Wesley Jordashe… They were big Rich Man, Poor Man fans.

          • Wesley

            And hey, if my great great ancestors had a bit of “tarbrush” along the way, who really cares, all the more fun to them I suppose. Wouldn’t ruin my day.

            But I could imagine your life crashing down if you were to find out the same. Or are you a pasty inbred from a long line of brother-sister marriages that kept the bloodline pure?

          • SweetAz

            We only have your word for it and that’s not worth much, for all I know you could be a 400lb coloured tranny,-you do reason like one. The East Rand is well known for the “looseness” of its women, I notice you didn’t confirm whether you have a family resemblance.
            In all my life I have never met or heard of a white Afrikaner from anywhere named Wesley,—ask your mother if she named you, she might also know who your father is.

          • Wesley

            Whaha lovit, without the standing of colour separating us, you go for the area I’m from and familial insults, shifting the goal posts as you go.

            No pity necessary mate. I don’t need it, especially from yourself.

          • SweetAz

            Alberton,—OK, say no more. All is now clear. You don’t irritate me, I pity you. A lot of “white Afrikaners” from that area have a tip of the tarbrush, I suspect you may be one, I’m betting you don’t look much like your father.

          • Wesley

            Born and bread South African White Afrikaner originally from Alberton on the East Rand, and proud of it thank you very much. And I’m only irritating you, and loving it!

        • SweetAz

          You should stop digging, your stupidity is hanging out.

          • Wesley

            Why not? I’m having fun! You think i do all this in seriousness?

            And stop sucking up to Lesedi, nobody is buying it.

  • Hank

    There should be only 1 quota and it should be a 100% talent. However I see quite a lot of new talent after the big quota push. What we need is better media coverage of potential players. Public opinion still has some clout and true rugby lovers enjoy watching talent lighting up the field, no matter the colour. If we’re more exposed to potential talent, by the media, and aware of what is out there, the quota system should go the way of the Do-do.
    Now the idiom fighting fire with fire rings true in many respects, but not in prejudice. You can’t fight racism with racism or sexism with sexism, which seems to be the order of the day. As white males we get demonized and are blamed for everything wrong with the world today. Constantly having to apologies for a world we did not create. Not to take anything away from any other race, but we are also largely to blame for most of the technology available today that improve our lives. I had nothing to do with that and thus do not expect people to thank me for it either. Today it is a challenge for me to find gainful employment or even start my own company without having a prescribed partner. A very unjust system, which sounds very familiar.

  • Cobus Brits

    I think the quota system gets most white folks hot under the collar for the simple reason that it highlights the same current of ineptness that runs through all of the governments’ outcomes.

    Education, economy, Eskom, NPA, PIC, Prasa, the Rand and the list goes on and on, has proven this inability of the current government to understand the machinations of proper government and decisions are based on race and not results. If it was results-based, South Africa wouldnt be in the mess it is in right now.

    Sport in general, not only rugby, is poorly run. Quotas means colour and the results suffer and white frustration increase. And because of a lack of understanding by the author of this article and lack of experience about how the real world operates, injects confusion in the debate and both white and black frustration rises.

    In another decade or two, the political landscape is going to look vastly different and we will all look back to this era of government mismanagement, abuses and corruption with horror and with much better insight into the policies that did not work.

    If any of todays journalist wants to last in his profession, it have to wake up to the realities of what is going down now otherwise they will be laughed at and scorned out of a job in future.

    State capture is starting to reveal the rot. The depths of corruption revealed is going to haunt the ANC forever and they will become a minority party like the NP and eventually dissapear.

    Take quotas away and let each player, black or white get to play on merit and the hate between our races will simmer down.

    If the government is serious about black rugby players, let them put their money where their mouths is, at grassroots level and the rest will happen by itself. But the government is too quick to want to see results, too thick to understand what it takes to be succesful.
    Oh yeah, I forgot, there is no more money because it must all go to Eskom to keep the lights on.
    Perfect illustration of why we are at each others throats.

    • Winger

      You are a very hopeful and optimistic person if you think that the change in the political landscape will be for the better over the next couple of decades. I admire optimism, even though I don’t share it. Look at the different political parties carefully, from the current leadership to the youth leadership. Where is the “change for the better” (my words) going to come from. The politics will not change. The waste will not diminish. The golden era has passed, never to return.

      There is no money. There will be no money. How does a politician deal with that. He blames “The Other”. If you’re young enough, emigrate. If you’re too old, enjoy the show. It is going to be spectacular.

  • Nick

    Sweetie is living proof of why affirmative action is necessary in SA. He’s by no means unique and original. And despite the good fortune of him not actually living in SA, his type is reasonably common.

    Most SAFFA’s understand that the current government is a disaster. But this should not be confused with full on abusive racism as demonstrated on the posts this person, whomever he is, is spewing out on a public forum. I mean, young people read this site.
    Imagine a coach, a teacher, a business owner or somebody else with power over others holding, and carrying out the neo fascist beliefs old sweetie has.

    Again, as we all know, this world view is hardly unique in SA.
    I would love to see Sweetie go into a polynesian pub in his adopted New Zealand and express his ‘freedom of speech’ as he bravely does behind his screen in the safety of his home.

    • Winger

      SweetAz is not a neo fascist. You confuse your isms. He is a racist. The EFF are fascists (and racists too), but SweetAz is not a fascist. Call a spade a spade, don’t go ism it. It sounds clever, but it is not applicable. Neo fascisits are the guys that walk around in uniforms bullying and banning everybody they don’t agree with. If you want to see fascism, go to black twitter.

      That is the beauty of the electronic social media. You can say whatever you like, with very little consequence.

      If you are from here, you have to be politically correct and agree that undeserving people are deserving because of disadvantage. You dare not insist that you have to achieve first and then be rewarded for that achievement. You can blame Escom for the mess they made, but you must not dare blame the persons who were in charge of the organisation, because that would be racist.

      Insisting on quotas according to race, is racist. Affirmative action is by its very nature, racist. It serves only one purpose. It disowns young people who were born in this country, after “freedom” was achieved. It forces them to leave the country of their birth in order to progress in a profession or a sport. I am not referring to senior players who receive huge monetary contracts, based on their achievements and reputation. I am talking about young people fresh out of school who leave to play professional rugby overseas, or even to attend university, because they were denied access in their home country, in spite of being top 10 percenters.

      Why do you think ex Saffers are so bitter. Many miss home, but they can’t afford to live here. The human cost is simply too high. Some of the people who remain, simply miss their children.

    • SweetAz

      A living example of cognitive dissonance you are. Your “current” government is a disaster you finally admit. So let’s deconstruct that statement,-just who is in this government that for 25 years has destroyed or stolen everything it has touched?
      Just who has been voting for this government despite overwhelming evidence to their lack of anything remotely resembling even a sliver of competence?
      Now, why would anyone with a modicum of intelligence trust this group of semi-retarded people to conjure up ANYTHING that benefits him? WHY on Gods green earth would you integrate, trust and embrace this group of people who are doing everything in their power to disenfranchise and trample everything you hold dear and sacred?
      Why would you believe that ANY policy instigated by these people could have any hope of success when they have a track record of almost 100% failure?

      Let me state this quite unequivocally so you have no more recourse to willful misunderstanding. I AM NOT A RACIST, I have no problems with Polynesian/Japanese/Chinese/Philipino etc etc people at all. I have travelled all over the world and get along with everybody I have met and happily shared all kinds of things with them.
      I only have a problem with BLACK AFRICANS,—-I also detest baked beans.

    • Wesley

      Nick you legend, well said. I must agree they are common, but luckily not a majority. They are dying out, but lets keep good sense argument to the front so that they don’t infect anybody.

      • SweetAz

        Actually, people who think like me are on the increase worldwide, mostly because of the incontrovertible evidence they can now see with their own eyes when these “people” turn their once happy neighbourhoods into ghettoes and criminal slums Your leftist echo chamber is shrinking.

  • Nick

    Any valid criticism of affirmative action and/or how it is carried out is actually harmed and weakened by the blatant disgust and disrespect Sweetie has for people of other races.

  • Nick

    Thanks Wesley.

    Absolutely agree. Fight the good fight bru!

  • Redge

    It’s simple, keep political garbage out of sport. ALL sport teams have to be picked on performance. Don’t blame all the current f….ps on apartheid. We all know that was wrong so try to fix it not misuse it. Funny how a once proud and wealthy union like the WPRU was run into the ground by people who should not even been allowed to run a corner store. All good to “attack” whites for everything but as soon as we like to view our opinion we are called racist. Pathetic state of the world. I don’t care if there is 15 Indians in the Bok starting lineup as long as they were selected on merit. BUT please don’t try to convince me that someone like Am is better than Serfontein! Papier better than Reinach? BS!

  • Sammy Swiegers

    Sir…
    This article was such a wonderful opportunity to take the question of what needs to be done to IMPROVE the prospects of SA Rugby, but the ball was dropped, in my possibly insignificant opinion. You ended up on the right track with your “different market” comment and I hope it leads to the article this question deserves, because it seemed the “word allowance” ran out when we got to the nitty-gritty.
    What REALLY got me riled a bit was the targeting of Schalk Brits inclusion. What was his form like at Sarries for the past couple of seasons? Forget his age, because the only numbers that count in rugby happens between the lines on match day. He proved it against the Lions again, yesterday.

    Good day, Sir.

  • Jane

    Jeez,

    Why am I surprised that the content is ignored but the heading is upheld as a basis of argument. Sometimes we just need to seat down and real introspect.

    Straw man fallacy is not an argument

    • Jane

      realy*…………..

Comments are closed.