The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today received correspondence from the South African Schools Athletics (SASA) General Secretary, Peppi Olevano, indicating SASA’s motion to withdraw their memos on the 40% Quota for Primary and High School Track & Field for 2019.
The DA wrote to the General Secretary yesterday, denouncing the quota requirement and requesting a meeting to discuss it. We are delighted that the organisation has reversed this decision, due in part to our pressure.
The organisation had sent out a memo on the 4th of February 2019, stating that a minimum of 40% of all South African district, provincial and national schools’ athletics teams had to be composed of players of colour. This memo outlined that within a selection of four athletes competing in high school, one athlete would have to be by requirement, previously disadvantaged, with no qualifying sport standard. This memo was translated in the same manner for primary schools, with the only distinction being that 1 in 3 competing athletes would have had to be previously disadvantaged.
SASA has since stated that it will in future rather align its Selection Criteria with the Federation – Athletics South Africa.
While the DA believes completely in the diversity of our country and its sports, this top-down approach at enforcing change has a number of negative consequences. These include reducing the level of competition at these events, pushing learners away from the sport if they cannot be chosen on merit and undermining the interest and support of sporting events.
We need to look at a bottom-up approach where the focus is on addressing resources, training, opportunity and facilities rather than a draconian top-down approach. The DA will continue to fight for fairness, opportunity, freedom and diversity for all South Africans, and for all learners passionate in pursuing their sporting dreams.