South Africa’s rugby bosses are set to be hauled before parliamentary sports committee to explain Bok coach Jake White’s “reckless” comments about transformation.
The summons follows the Cape Argus report on Monday in which the embattled coach said he could not call up Western Province captain Luke Watson because of the need to balance the racial make-up of the team.
“We are going to meet these people (SA Rugby) soon. The team is going down,” committee chairperson Butana Komphela told the Cape Argus on Wednesday.
He alleged White had been reckless in blaming transformation for his failure to call up Watson for the Tri-Nations.
Komphela told the Cape Argus: “In our previous meeting with SA Rugby, the issue of Watson was raised and the current president (Oregan Hoskins) told the committee that, ‘We will not be able to pick Watson just because his father was involved in non-racial sport’. ”
Khomphela scorned White’s explanation as excuses or part of a conspiracy. “We do not have a problem with Watson being picked. He is one of the best players around at the moment.”
He suggested that White’s refusal to select Watson had the blessing of powerful people in rugby. “Jake White does not just toss around that arrogance if he is not being backed.”
Even Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile’s office has called White’s “sudden concern” for transformation a bluff.
“The problem with Jake is that he has never considered transformation as an issue before,” said Makhenkesi’s spokesperson, Bongie Sishi.
“It is surprising that he is making it an issue now. If he is using transformation well, it will bear fruits instead of excuses.”
Komphela suggested that White should be fired.
“The tendency of marginalising players under the pretext of transformation is criminal and reckless,” he said. “I am emphasising today that when we said Jake White must go we were not (wrong). He must go.”