On Monday 7 May, the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Tokozile Xasa, released the Eminent Person’s Group (EPG) Transformation Report in Pretoria, which, among other important information, highlighted sporting codes that have met, or not met, their transformation targets. Additionally, the report highlighted the plan moving forward, stressing the need for continued transformation.
The EPG Transformation Report is an annual report that details and analyses the transformation status of various sporting codes and unions in South Africa, and assesses whether or not they have achieved their own goals of transformation.
The report highlighted South African cricket as a model for positive transformation, with an improvement of 45 to 60% black African players, with hockey also improving from 20% to 45%. Although, in recent years, rugby has been seen as one of the least likely to make the transformation targets, this year’s report shows an improvement from 34% to 42% black African players, with netball improving from 37% to 56% in total.
In addition to the transformation of players on the field, the report also looked at the success of transformation at the governance and decision-making level of sport federations. The report showed that more than half (60%) of federations audited have elected black presidents into position whereas almost, 70%, have reported the election of boards that are more than 50% black. Women representation at board level has also been shown to be improving in that seven out of the 19 federations have reported female representation at board level larger than that prescribed by the Transformation Charter.
The goal of the Transformation Charter is to ensure the evolvement of a demographically representative, equitable, sustainable and competitive sport system. In order to do this, the report highlighted five key areas that transformation needs to respond to, which are:
- Demographic representation in key categories,
- Access to participation and involvement in sport,
- Skill and capability development and improvement,
- Governance performance in selected areas, and
- Economic empowerment in the sports industry
The report stated that schools and the encouragement of sport in the under 18-population group would be the primary focus of the programmes aimed at hitting the transformation targets. The report, as stated by Xasa, said, “audit reports over the past 4 years have suggested that an effective school sport system… will be the definitive platform on which to transform SA sport from a dominant minority representation position to a majority inclusive reality.”
In order to improve the participation and enthusiasm in sport at school level, the report called for programmes to be set up in rural and township areas that promoted sport in the surrounding schools through the establishment of new community based sport structures at district level, calling for CATHSSETA (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training) to provide the coaches, mentors, trainers and instructors needed on a mass scale.
The report ended by saying, “the remainder of this current political administration must be about school sport, active nation and transformation. South Africans must see themselves in all our national teams”.