‘Transformation plan not about quotas’

Saru's Strategic Transformation Plan is a road map and not a quota system, according to CEO Jurie Roux.

The wide-ranging plan was approved by the Saru General Council in December and explained to the media in Cape Town on Tuesday.

'The STP is a road map,' said Roux. 'We have a destination in mind and know there will be short cuts and at other times we may stray from the path. There are no punishments if our targets are not met but without a structured objective, backed by implementation plans, we would be nowhere.

'Transformation is a critical business imperative in South Africa and if we had not taken this new approach to what had been an organic process up until recently, we would have put our sport in peril of becoming marginalised.

'It will unlock untapped talent and has the potential to awaken corporate interest in rugby where it may previously not have existed. The simple facts are that the majority of rugby supporters and players – at schoolboy and club level – in South Africa are black; 84% of this country’s U18s are black African – and we want them in our game in some way.'

Saru president Regan Hoskins said the plan was aligned with the government’s National Sports Plan and had six focus areas: demographic representation; access to the game; skills and capacity development; performance; community development and social responsibility and corporate governance.

'Within those six dimensions are 71 key performance indicators,' he added. 'For instance we want to introduce 150,000 new primary-school children to the game by 2019; accredit 1,500 new administrators; raise preferential procurement to 40% from targeted suppliers; increase the number of women in administration to 40% and raise the black representation in our national teams.'

Roux said South African rugby was entirely unrecognisable from the game that returned from isolation in 1992, countering the perception that 'nothing had changed'.

'Saru has had a black president for 17 years; our Executive Council is 75% black; we’ve had a black Springbok coach; the leading Springbok try-scorer of all time is black, and the Western Province team that won the Currie Cup in October averaged 40% black representation and had a black coach and captain.

'Rugby is massively transformed but we know we have challenges: only one in 35 schools in provinces such as KZN, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West play rugby, for example, which provides unique challenges for those provinces compared to the Western and Eastern Cape where 60% of school rugby is played.

'And we know that we are only judged on representation in the Springbok team. We’ve spent R500-million on development in rugby since 1992 and can point to significant advances, but the Bok team is the only measure on which we are judged.

'We understand that and we also understand that it's also unfair to put that pressure on the Springbok coach without offering him any assistance – his teams can only reflect what's going on at the elite end of the domestic game.

'Since we started the process of developing this plan, the provinces have shown their bona fides and black representation is increasing. We will reap those rewards over the coming seasons and decades.'

Roux said the Strategic Transformation Plan would be monitored by a new Saru department – Strategic Performance Management – which had been established out of the old Development Department in December. Specially developed software had also been designed to track progress.

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Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

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