Urgent court bid to prevent Boks from competing in Rugby World Cup

The Springbok rugby team to represent South Africa in the Rugby World Cup pose for a picture in Durban, August 28, 2015. Image by- ROGAN WARD : REUTERS

An urgent court application to prevent the South African rugby team from participating in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England and Wales next month has been launched by Agency for New Agenda (ANA)‚ a political party formerly known as South Africa First.

The basis for the party’s application is an alleged lack of transformation in the sport‚ which it claims is still dominated by whites‚ and that the team does not fully represent the majority of South Africans.

The respondents in the matter are the Minister of Sport and the South African Rugby Union.

The matter is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday (September 2) in the Pretoria High Court before Justice Mavundla.

The party has also written to the International Rugby Union requesting that South Africa be suspended.

In court papers‚ ANA says that although much has been achieved in the past 21 years to transform the country “it is common knowledge that some citizens … resist such transformation and continue to practice activities‚ acts and conduct that are premised on unfair discrimination based on a number of criteria‚ including race”.

In the history of a country like South Africa that has had a very bitter and painful past‚ it is to be accepted that a period of 21 years ought to have been more that enough for considerable progress to have been made to eradicate the “vestiges and manifestations of racial bigotry and discrimination”.

“However‚ it is regrettable that such remnants and vestiges of racism‚ racial discrimination and racial exclusion and resistance to transformation still exist‚ and determine‚ to a very large extent‚ the fate of the majority of the country’s black population‚” the party states.

Nowhere is the practice based on racial discrimination‚ exclusion and bias more evident than in sports in general‚ and in rugby in particular‚ it argues.

“A cursory glance at the history of almost all our sporting codes and our participation in international tournaments will reveal a country that is still untransformed and represented by the white section of its population that is predominantly in the minority and continues to exclude its black majority population from participation‚” the party claims.

In its letter to the IRA‚ the party charges that South African rugby “was‚ and still is a white-man’s sport‚ excluding and marginalising the majority Black population” and calls upon the international body to “to take a stance and condemn‚ unreservedly‚ the continued exclusion and marginalization of black South Africans from the national team”.

“We call upon you to suspend‚ with immediate effect‚ the membership of South Africa from your organisation and to bar the participation of South Africa from the World Rugby World Cup 2015‚” it added.

Source: RDM News Wire