Mbalula lays down the law

Johannesburg, 5 November 2015 - Minister Fikile Mbalula is taking a hard line when it comes to transformation in sports. He says there'll be serious consequences for those who don’t comply.
Johannesburg, 5 November 2015 - Cosatu thinks SA government can't fix the problems in sport by having agreements and documents in cupboards. What they want to see is players on the field.
File: There was an uproar when Siya Kolisi and Lwazi Mvovo were not part of the bronze medal play-off squad. Photo: AFP / Rajesh Jantilal

JOHANNESBURG - Heyneke Meyer is not to blame for not fielding enough black players during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

That's according to Fikile Mbalula.

But the Sport Minister does say that there will be no excuse for the Springboks not to field a more representative team in 2019.

Only eight players of colour made it into Heyneke Meyer’s 31-man World Cup squad.

Come 2019, up to 50 percent of the squad needs to be of colour, with half of those black Africans.

"Transformation is not negotiable.

"I don't expect in the next five years or the next year to still be grappling with the question of who must play and who must not play," said Mbalula.

"The next World Cup is taking place in the next five years and I expect that the Springbok team should be ready in order to continue to compete with their counterparts and continue to play good rugby and that is what is important for me."

And if these targets are not met over the next four years, the Springboks may not even make it to Japan.

"The punitive measures include among others, suspending or withdrawal of government funding, withdrawal of government recognition to the national federation in terms of section 10 (b)," he said.

"Such a decision will mean that a national federation will be deregistered and that such a decision will be published in the government gazette."

There was an uproar when Siya Kolisi and Lwazi Mvovo were not part of the bronze medal play-off squad.

'I will never agree that a talented black player must selected because he's black ahead of a talented white player, I will not." 

These transformation benchmarks will be tested next year, when SARU is expected to field a Bok side with 35 percent players of colour.

* For more on this story, watch the video in the gallery above.

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