Nice surprise

I accidentally clicked on a link (well, either that or “my account was hacked“) on YouTube and got to watch this.

Which was a nice surprise.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup Winners Will Not Be The 2015 Rugby World Cup Winners Unless South Africa Win The 2015 Rugby World Cup In Which Case South Africa Will Be The 2015 Rugby World Cup Winners

Yes. Seriously.

Racial quotas in South African sport have been a bone of contention as long as I can recall, and I’ve got a South African memory of almost 12 years now. I think it came in when I was denied my rightful place in the South African national football team, simply on the grounds that I was white*.

Many people have many different views on quotas in sport, and expressing them at any chosen volume will still result in absolutely nothing being sorted out any time soon. As a result, I’m not about to try and tackle any of these issues in this blog post, and I would welcome you to not tackle any of them in the comments section below either.
Thanks in advance.

One organisation that has stepped up to the plate in expressing their views on the quota system, specifically in regard to the Springbok squad heading to the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in England later this month is the Vryheidsfront Plus (VF+), an Afrikaans political party here in SA.

They’re not happy with the “political interference” (quota system) in the selection of the SA squad in that:

The Minister of Sport and Recreation is proposing that in future the national and all provincial rugby teams must reflect the national demographics of young men (please see the attached media statement from the Minister). This means that 84% of each rugby team must be black and only 16% of every team will consist of coloured, Indian and white players. This in means in practice that less than 3 positions in every team will be available for minorities.

This is part 1 of a… document thing that they have submitted (for some reason) to the:

British High Commissioner, the British Rugby-Unions and the British Government

You can read the whole thing here. The introduction is in Afrikaans, but as Stellenbosch University have recently discovered, not everyone speaks Afrikaans, so they have in English the actual document writted. (And yes, “die Britse hoë kommissaris” is the Afrikaans for British High Commissioner. Not for any other sort of British Commissioner.)

The VF+ go on to say that:

The political interference in the selection of the national rugby team may mean that South-Africa’s strongest available team will not be competing and/or taking part in the Rugby World-Cup Tournament for 2015.

Those hyphens can like to be theirs, by the way.
Alrighty, so having decided that the Springbok squad which is competing and/or taking part (??) in the RWC isn’t the the strongest that it could be, it naturally follows that:

As a result, the ultimate winner of the tournament may not be able to claim that they are the world champion team as South Africa would have stood a reasonable chance of winning the tournament with a team selected on merit.

Oooohkay. If you say so.

The Rugby Championship - Official SANZAR Site - Google Chrome 2015-08-31 035535 PM.bmp

Ignoring that, the VF+ furthermore add:

It goes without saying that the quota issue itself has a very negative impact on the individual players and the team, and the government interference causes divisions in South African society on a racial basis.

So, you guys over at the British High Commission, the British Rugby-Unions and the British Government need to consider the gravitas of this situation, because:

The political impairment of a potential winner may place the credibility of the whole tournament in jeopardy.

Yeah. It was political interference what did for them. (Although, yes, the Sports Minister is a bit of a twat.)
If it wasn’t for this political interference and the very negative impact on the individual players and the team, this would have been a walk in die bos for the Springboks. The whole tournament is a jeopardy. The whole thing. The only way to grant the competition any sort of legitimacy would be in South Africa won it.
But as the VF+ have already insinuated, that’s not going to happen. It all smacks of a Afrikaner episode of Scooby Doo:

“We would have won it if it wasn’t for you meddling Blacks”

No, but really. Quite what the VF+ expect the British High Commissioner, the British Rugby-Unions and the British Government to do about this alleged political interference and its alleged effect on the Bok squad and the whole Rugby World Cup is rather beyond me. It almost seems like grandstanding in order to make a cheap, ineffectual and meritless political point. But… surely not.

Interestingly, while we’re on the subject (which we are), the Agency for a New Agenda party are also unhappy with Minister Fikile’s quota system. They think it’s not good enough, and instead of writing a document thing, they have taken to the courts:

ANA president Edward Mahlomola Mokhoanatse will be in the North Gauteng High Court seeking an urgent order to compel Saru and sports department officials to surrender their passports so they cannot travel. It also wants the court to order “the executive” to establish a “judicial commission of inquiry into the lack of transformation in South African rugby”.

So, you see, you simply can’t please all of the people, all of the time. Or in Fikile’s case, any of the people, any of the time. It’s just like I said – there are no easy answers here.

Me? I’ll be supporting England for the World Cup – being English and all. Of course, I recognise that if they win after  competing and/or taking part, then I won’t be able to claim that they are they are the world champion team, because Pieter Mulder says not, but it would just be nice to see them beat what teams were there.
Maybe they could make the trophy out of plastic, or something – just to signify that it doesn’t really count? That’s actully a pretty good idea. I’ll write to the British High Commissioner, the British Rugby-Unions and the British Government and let them know.


 * and too old, possibly not quite good enough, and not actually South African.

Fikile – u ok hon?

Here’s a statement by our erstwhile Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula over the weekend:

fm statement

and here’s a letter which has popped into the public domain this morning:

fifa letter

Of course, even though the $10 million payment was made to Jack Warner, it wasn’t a bribe, in the same way that that body of water at Nkandla isn’t meant for any purpose other than fighting fires.

And if it was a bribe, why would they have made that huge PR effort and the big song and dance about such a generous donation to such a worthy cause?

Nah, this totally seems legit.

Comedy moments

Today in politics:

Firstly, Sports Minister Fikile “Fickle” Mbalula (see blog passim) reacted to the FIFAgate scandal and the allegation that the SA Government had paid a $10m bribe to bring the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, with this gem:

David Smith on Twitter Mbalula As a nation we will be the first to endorse the fight against corruption wherever it is found. Media is casting aspersions. - Google Chrome 2015-05-28 014812 PM.bmp

Yep. No corruption in this nation. Absolutely not. None.
Here are some other ridiculous things he said, helpfully illustrated by high class rag The Times.

Glad we’ve got that sorted.

Then, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko told us that the R250m upgrades to the President’s residence in KZN were necessary for security purposes and therefore, JZ doesn’t have to pay for them.


You might think that this is fair enough, but let’s just see how much they had to stretch to get some of the less obvious “security” upgrades into the “security upgrade” bracket:


And good job too, because those chickens could obviously pose a definite danger to Number 1. And in the event of an emergency, where else are you going to be able to assemble if not in an amphitheatre?

It does rather make you think that they’re taking the piss now. I mean, the signs that they’ve been taking the piss have been there for a while, but we definitely do seem to have crossed yet another line of pisstakery with today’s events.

Quoth Tom Eaton (in a post/column written (I think) ahead of the FIFA or Nkandla developments mentioned above):

They know we’re watching, but they don’t care. We’re just scenery to them now, a fleeting impression to be remembered one day when they’re lying on their private beach, laughing about the old days when they were making their pile.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get off home to build an animal enclosure next to the firepool to stop the beagle crapping in my amphitheatre.

What a difference a year makes…

…52 little weeks.

On 20th January last year, South Africa woke up to read what our Sports Minister had said about the national football team’s defeat the previous evening:

“The mediocrity we saw yesterday is disgraceful. Last night, we saw a bunch of losers who conceded two useless goals. We must never wake up to this situation ever again,” said Mbalula.

But then guess what happened last night?

On 20th January this year, South Africa woke up to the words of a somewhat different Fikile Mbalula:

But that’s politics for you isn’t it? A short-term, shiny surface popularity contest (see yesterday’s post) with no real substance behind it. I’d love to think that Mbalula felt differently about the South African football team, but deep down, I think he’s just trying to look good in front of his legion of twitter fans after the kicking his reputation took for those 2014 comments.

So, while I’m all for this “new approach”, while we’re a whole 365 days on from Fikile’s extraordinary outburst, while he tells us how we must react to last night’s rubbish with dignity and while we’re all not calling Bafana Bafana names, let’s not allow ourselves to conveniently forget exactly who was the most famous name caller of all.