Posted on August 25, 2006

Rugby Heading For Race Showdown At Loftus

Sibo Maputi, The Citizen (ZA), August 24, 2006

[Editor’s Note: For background on this story, see “SA Rugby Increases Super 12 Race Quotas” and “SA Sport to Lose ‘White Face’“]

Racial confrontation is brewing ahead of the Springbok-All Blacks clash at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday.

A group calling itself the Transformation and Anti-racism Committee (Tarc) will stage a protest outside the stadium to “embarrass” SA Rugby for failing to address transformation.

But Tarc will be countered by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), which will stage an action against government’s involvement in sport. The FF+ will corner spectators for signatures, which will be handed over to the Tarc organising committee.

According to Luvuyo Matsha, convener of the Tarc organising committee, it will be a peaceful march. He said it had gathered momentum.

“There has been covert racism in rugby since the unification 14 years ago, and if we don’t act now it will remain,” said Matsha.

“How do you explain the absence of black referees in the Currie Cup and black players in our representative teams?”

In a statement to The Citizen, Pieter Mulder of FF+ said it was time that the silent majority of sport supporters made their voices heard.

“We have been intimidated for long enough.”

The Tarc protesters will be carrying placards rejecting racism, one of which will read: “Madiba wore the No 6 jersey for all South Africans.”

“We demand meaningful and massive transformation from SA Rugby. When did we last hear of black players at Craven Week?” said Matsha.

“South Africa has enough black players representing the national team.”

Pretoria Metro Police director M J Vosloo said they were aware of the planned march by the FF+ but had not been approached by Tarc. He gave the assurance that, as at any other Test match, there would be sufficient security.

Attempts to reach Johann Prinsloo, managing director of SA Rugby, failed.

From TARC:

The Transformation and Anti-Racism Rugby Committee (TARC), a national coalition of black rugby clubs and its supporters , wishes to announce its campaign against racism and the lack of transformation in South African Rugby. TARC calls for a boycott of the three upcoming Tri-Nations test matches involving the Springboks and will be staging a protest before the match between the Springboks and the All Blacks. TARC wishes to highlight the unacceptable levels of racism prevalent in rugby in South Africa and the complete lack of transformation of SA Rugby and its provincial unions.

TARC demands that racism be removed from rugby as a priority and further demands that meaningful initiatives to transform rugby be instigated with the involvement of black clubs with immediate effect. Black South Africans cannot continue to support the South African team without these demands being met and TARC will continue on this road of mass action until these demands are met.

Issued By TARC

Luvuyo Matsha- Convenor TARC

Derick Jardine-Deputy Convenor TARC

DR Asad Bhorat- Secretary-TARC