Minister Zizi Kodwa tackling allegations of nepotism at SARU

Minister Zizi Kodwa tackling allegations of nepotism at SARU

Minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture Zizi Kodwa has spoken out against the alleged nepotism at the South African Rugby Union (SARU), reminding SA sports federations about ethical leadership.

Kodwa was responding to reports about SARU CEO Rian Oberholzer’s son, who is said to have been appointed to organise the Springboks’ two Test matches against Ireland in July. 

City Press recently reported that the company Access Management Services (AMS) was appointed to organise two Tests in Pretoria and Durban without a tender process being followed, and Kodwa says he has raised the issue with SARU.

“I did raise the issues of rugby way before – if you remember, when we visited them in Cape Town, I said to the leadership, ‘I’m worried about something [that] is bubbling under the water about something called equity,’” said Kodwa.

“When there was a team acknowledgment when they came back [from France], I said whatever is happening in Cape Town, make sure it’s not about us individuals in rugby, it’s about the sport of rugby.

“And I see now things are coming to a hat, and again these are part of the discussions I will have with the president of SASCOC, which again will culminate later into discussions between ourselves and SARU.”

Kodwa acknowledges rugby’s significant role in South Africa’s democracy, with the four Rugby World Cup titles, in particular, having gone a long way towards uniting the nation.

But, he says, equally, there are other things that shouldn't be ignored, and the ministry is tackling them.

“These sports, including these two federations, what they have done for this country – the positivity, happiness index – this reverses almost [everything] to say, ‘Look, we told you, we are celebrating an all-white sport,’” he added.

“We don’t want that because we have made progress, so the leadership must explain how do you just unwind such progress you have made over the years?

“But, of course, as the minister, you don’t just want to jump. There are structures, there’s a board so you wait for the board report – are they aware of this?

“And then there’s the SASCOC president [Barry Hendricks], being the overall president general, who will also give me guidance on how we best deal with these issues.”

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