Springbok emblem ructions statement by the UDM President (13 October 2008)

The UDM notes the call by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Sport for the removal of the Springbok emblem from SA rugby. We also note that he and his cohorts orchestrated this campaign to publicly embarrass and catch SA rugby stakeholders and leaders off guard. We should not be surprised by this publicity stunt because certain ANC members want to ingratiate themselves with the new ANC leadership and ensure that they are high on the list for next year's election. In the process they are embarrassing the ANC, whose official position is in support of the retention of the Springbok emblem.

Nor is what the honourable MP, Mr Khompela have said a reflection of what the Sport Portfolio's Committee has discussed; and it certainly is not the formal position of the Committee or the political parties who serve on it.

The Springboks must prepare for their upcoming tour and not concern themselves with this opportunistic noise by the honourable Mr Khompela. The UDM has full confidence in the current leadership of SA rugby; it is this leadership - under coach De Villiers, that has given us the current team where transformation and class aren't mutually exclusive objectives.

What the honourable MP, Mr Khompela and Minister Stofile should do is to lobby for more funding from the Minister of Finance, to enhance and expand development of players and facilities at grassroots level. In other words actually focus on building something, as opposed to mouthing off and breaking down.

If the Springbok is a symbol of oppression we should be asking why the ANC is applying selective amnesia about Apartheid era symbols. How else can we explain the decision for the new democratic Parliament to use the Apartheid era's parliamentary premises? Or for that matter the three ANC-appointed Presidents of the country installing themselves in the Union Buildings - the ultimate symbol of Apartheid's power and oppression? This demonstrates that we should and can take ownership of symbols. The Springbok belongs to all of us - as was clearly demonstrated by the widespread support during and after last year's Rugby World Cup victory.

This is just another example of the ANC's Johnny-come-late revolutionaries sowing confusion. ANC President, Mr Zuma needs to discipline the members of his movement; there is far too much loose talk. It is time to stamp the authority of the NEC on the ANC's wayward members. Since Polokwane there have been too many people positioning themselves as spokespersons and in the process contradicting ANC policies and that of the Government. In the past month the 'new' ANC has shown a complete lack of leadership, dumping the country into one crisis and unnecessary panic after another.