|JACK IN THE BOKS: Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula|
Here is Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula's statement on the Springboks finishing third at the Rugby World Cup in England, sent to me by e-mail this morning.
There are some quite incredible comments like "The springboks are our African African patriots, in their veins flow the blood of our common ancestors" and anybody who disagrees? "Our people must forever be vigilant and not allow our detractors to bastardise Mandela’s legacy".
Remember, this is the man who once described South Africa's national football team Bafana Bafana as a bunch of losers. Who accused this writer of "being on nyaope" for revealing the deceit of the pre-2010 "African Diaspora fund" when he was denying all knowledge of that infamous $10m payment.
The man who singularly fails to deal with the real issues in sport - match-fixing, bribery, development and corruption - appears to have worked really hard on this document. While he prepares to spend R6.5 BILLION on the Commonwealth Games in Durban (a sum which would provide free university education for ALL) with accusations of corruption already coming to the surface, appears obsessed by our elderly, unrepresentative rugby team. The question is: WHY?
Please read it carefully. It's quite staggering. Not quite sure what the ancestors would think.
TO ALL MEDIA
31 OCTOBER 2015
MINISTER OF SPORT AND RECREATION SOUTH AFRICA, MR FIKILE MBALULA STATEMENT FOLLOWING THE EXIT OF SOUTH AFRICA FROM THE IRB WORLD CUP
Today we pay homage and tribute to the springbok team that defeated Argentina to claim the third place in the IRB 2015 I World Cup. I take this rare opportunity to salute Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Brian Habana, Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villers for their selfless services and infinite commitment to the man in black green and gold and the people of South Africa. These senior players ,who by right and exhibition, reached their twilight days in international rugby remain loads stars to the current generation and a source of inspiration to posterity. Go well you South African compatriots! Farewell you faithful soldiers.
As a nation we must remember that the springboks entered this World Cup against the backdrop of four successive loses in international test rugby. A shocking loss to Japan in the opening match at the IRB 2015 RWC. Our boys in green and gold came to the IRB 2015 RWC representing a divided nation bickering over demographic representation and grappling with the necessary and inevitable perennial transformation debate.
On the other hand, the All Blacks from New Zealand, our opponents had none of the above and that naturally gives them an edge over us. With all that baggage, the boys advanced to the semi-finals and gave the All Blacks a taste of their own medicine before bowing out in dignity and with their heads standing high on their shoulders. That is the spirit, bravado, passion, pride and brute synonymous with the springbok team.
For this act and never die spirit of a springbok team, the nation salute and the coach for flying the South African flag high and fearlessly fighting to bring the Webb Ellis cup to the African continent for the third time. We take our hats off to the team for demonstrating once again that victory and glory belong to those who are prepared to make supreme sacrifices. The Springboks are the harbingers of the future and the posterity will benefit immensely by taking a leaf from their trial and tribulations.
The springboks are our African African patriots, in their veins flow the blood of our common ancestors. Whatever challenges we face as a nation, whatever contradictions society throws up in the course of the struggle for transformation, whoever maliciously attempt to derail the path our government, has chosen ; that of peace and development thorough sport, nation building and social cohesion through sport, our people must forever be vigilant and not allow our detractors to bastardise Mandela’s legacy.
We must be vigilant, defend the core-values, consolidate what we have achieved thus far, advance and deepen the struggle for democracy, transformation and development in sport. The springboks and the transformation of any other code must be located in that vortex of a nation constructing it's identity and taking its rightful place in the global community.
I end by invoking the words of a Brazilian Philosopher Roberto Unger when he said “ the internal dynamics of societies, the revelations of inescapable conflicts and missed opportunities, are the proximate cause of their transformation”. Therein lies the strategic debate in framing the discourse and preparing our nation for the 2019 RWC in Japan. In the coming years we will not entertain meaningless debates. We have a Transformation Charter and the Eminent Persons Group on Transformation comprehensive recommendations to implement in order to achieve transformation goals.