DA to lodge HRC and World Rugby complaint over Grant Khomo rugby quota controversy

Issued by Tsepo Mhlongo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture
29 Jun 2023 in News
  • The DA condemns the disqualification of Western Province in the Grant Khomo-rugby tournament for allegedly not meeting the quota requirements.
  • Racial quotas have no place in sports, especially in children’s sports, and the DA will request an investigation by the SA Human Rights Commission.
  • We will also inform World Rugby about the government’s interference in grassroots rugby and the violation of its regulations.

The DA strongly condemns the unjust discrimination witnessed at the under 16 Grant Khomo-rugby tournament, where Western Province was disqualified for allegedly failing to field the required number of quota players in their squad.

According to reports, the Western Province team initially complied with SA Rugby’s quota regulations, but unfortunately two of the quota players were forced to withdraw from the match due to serious injuries and replaced with white players.

SA rugby requires that at least 11 of the 23 players in the team must be players of colour. The two substitutions upset the required balance and the team was disqualified.

The DA will promptly request the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to conduct an investigation into this matter.

The DA firmly believes that racial quotas and discrimination based on skin color have no place in any sport, particularly in children’s sports.

The focus of a child’s school sporting experience should revolve around enjoyment, skill development, and building relationships with teammates, rather than being exposed to discrimination and forced racial quotas. Additionally, enforcing racial quotas undermines fair and competitive play, potentially leading to instances of bullying and the unjust perception that certain players are not selected based on merit.

Rather than imposing arbitrary quotas on sports teams, the government should prioritise investing in grassroots sports development and ensuring equal opportunities for all learners, regardless of race or socio-economic background, to flourish and succeed. Racial quotas are merely a superficial approach that fails to address the government’s ongoing failure to provide opportunities for all South Africans.

As per World Rugby’s bylaws and regulations, rugby is meant to be accessible to all individuals, with no tolerance for racism or any form of discrimination within the sport. Although this incident occurred at a school-level event, South Africa, as a member of World Rugby, should adhere to the international body’s rules and regulations governing rugby at all levels.

Therefore, in addition to reporting this matter and SA Rugby’s quota regulations to the Human Rights Commission, the DA will also write to World Rugby to bring attention to the ANC Government’s interference in grassroots rugby.