56 White schoolgirls excluded from Gauteng netball teams based on their race

AfriForum

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56 White schoolgirls excluded from Gauteng netball teams based on their race. Photo: AfriForum
56 White schoolgirls excluded from Gauteng netball teams based on their race. Photo: AfriForum

The civil rights organisation AfriForum revealed in Pretoria on 5 June 2019, that this organisation had obtained the score sheets of the selectors of the Gauteng Under 12 to Under 18 school teams. These score sheets prove that 56 white girls, who should have been selected to the teams on merit according to the selectors’ assessments, were however excluded from the teams because of their race.

AfriForum has already submitted written official complaints to Netball South Africa (NSA), South African Schools Netball (SASN) and Gauteng Schools Netball (GSN) on behalf of the parents of twelve of the prejudiced girls. These complaints demand, among other, that racial quotas be abolished and that the prejudiced girls should receive written confirmation from GSN that they should indeed have been selected to the teams based on merit.

AfriForum and the parents indicated in their complaints to the above netball institutions that, if their demands are not met within 14 days, an official complaint against NSA of racial discrimination would be submitted to the International Netball Federation (INF). If necessary, the case will also be taken to the international Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). The INF’s rules, as well as those of the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation, prohibit any form of racial discrimination explicitly.

Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, points out that the 56 girls who were prejudiced simply because of their skin colour were born between 2001 and 2007. They were therefore born after former President Nelson Mandela’s term of office.

“The dignities of these young girls are seriously violated because they are being punished for a former order in which they had no part,” Kriel adds. Kriel asks how one should explain to a 12-year-old girl that she is good enough to make the team, but that her race (over which she has no control) determines that she cannot make the team.

According to Kriel, NSA and other South African sports bodies repeatedly try to justify their racial discrimination against children with a quota system by painting it as an attempt to rectify inequality by offering opportunities to children from poor, disadvantaged schools without access to proper facilities or coaching. An analysis of the team selections of the Gauteng schools’ teams shows that 49 of the 56 girls who were selected based on race (and not merit) attend affluent schools (private or former Model C schools) with proper facilities and coaches.

“This means that the racial discrimination that accompanies team selections is nothing more than an attempt to serve a racially-driven ideology and is not aimed at creating opportunities for poor children,” Kriel says.

Kriel points out that AfriForum is strongly in favour of the development of netball players from poor communities. “The fact that the team selection figures indicate that NSA failed miserably in developing players from poor schools, cannot be used as justification for NSA to hide its own failures by now blatantly discriminating against school children based on their race, and by violating their dignity.”

According to Kriel, 42 black girls made the Gauteng teams on merit. It is tragic that this significant number of good black players is now also jeopardised because the racial quota system brand them unfairly with the quota label.

AfriForum’s letter also demands that the South African netball institutions provide an explanation of which objective criteria are used to classify children in terms of race without their parents’ knowledge for the purpose of team selection. AfriForum also demands that NSA provides the organisation with a detailed explanation of its development initiatives for poor communities, as AfriForum would willingly provide positive inputs to improve NSA’s plans, which are most probably unsuccessful, as the lack of children from poor schools selected for teams clearly shows.

According to Henk Maree, Head of AfriForum Youth, NSA’s discrimination against white school girls is but one of many examples of how young people, who want to make a positive contribution to their provinces and country, are being alienated on a large scale because they are treated as second-rate citizens in their own country because of their skin colour. Maree points out that AfriForum Youth will never accept this kind of treatment of children and young people and that his organisation will employ every mechanism at their disposal to fight to the end for a society in which all young people are treated as first-class citizens.

According to AfriForum, the public can help to show that there is wide opposition against the quota system, by adding their names to the complaint against NSA that will be submitted to the international bodies.

The public can add their names here

Or by sending an SMS with their names to -32687 (R1).

Read the original article in Afrikaans on AfriForum

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