The South African Rugby Union says it has committed to a transformation plan that will for once properly measure its success and failure on this issue.
The governing body held a two-day transformation indaba in Johannesburg, which concluded with Saru president Oregan Hoskins and representatives of each of the 14 member unions signing a declaration.
‘We have had visions and charters in the past, with good intentions, and progress has been made,’ Hoskins said. ‘But what distinguishes this one is the commitment to properly measure ourselves on our progress.’
The key performance areas will be access, skill and capability development, demographics, performance, and alignment to national policy and governance.
No details of the plan have been released yet (they will first discuss an implementation plan), but Hoskins explained that they would strive to go beyond previously unsuccessful attempts at transformation.
‘As the sports minister [Fikile Mbalula] said, transformation is not about the “vulgar” simplification of numbers in the Springbok team,’ Hoskins said. ‘It is about a whole range of opportunities being created in a number of different areas to continue to transform rugby at all levels and in all corners of our activity.’
Saru chief executive Jurie Roux said the indaba and declaration were part of an extensive strategy to finalise the transformation implementation plan. He also said it confirmed that Saru would adopt deliberate transformation initiatives in order to ensure equal opportunities existed for all South Africans.
‘We have had a group working on this process for several months,’ Roux said. ‘In April we presented the outline to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport and since then we have workshopped the draft plan with provinces on an individual basis.
‘This indaba is the culmination of that process and from this we will finalise the implementation plan.’
Saru hopes the strategic transformation plan will increase the number of blacks involved at all levels of the game and ensure rugby was accessible to all who wished to participate. There will also be a focus on improving skills and performance in identified coaches, referees, administrators and players. It stressed that in accordance with transformation plan, Saru members would focus on quality and merit to deliver world-class performances on the field of play.