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22 October 2010 at 17:12 - Posted by Anonymous

Dear Absa...


ABSA - Sponsors of the Currie Cup

Dear Absa

I am deeply concerned about the alleged discriminatory communications issued to Oregan Hoskins by my bank Absa. My money is obviously not good enough because of the colour of my skin and I have made the decision to move ALL of my accounts to another bank, a bank that puts all of its paying clients first. Absa uses our money to invest in sports like rugby and sponsor them and then have the cheek to shun and insult their white customers by demanding quicker transformation in rugby without addressing the real issues at hand.

Since when does a bank adopt a political stance in sport and interfered to score cheap political points from the government? I guess maybe it’s because they want their business, unlimited funds is an attractive client, and the government seem to have endless reams of cash? Who knows? What I do know is Absa is a BANK, not a political bargaining tool.

It is disgusting, and as a progressive thinking young person I am dismayed at Absa's poor foresight and lack of respect for its clients who are a mix of all races.

I may not be your biggest client, but I do know that all your little clients added together make up your biggest client and a lot of them are dismayed with your attitude towards them.

We are 15 years into the transformation process and it is not working in business and in sport because there is not enough quantitative investment by government and private companies at the grass roots level. When I talk about investment, it’s not just about throwing money into something. It’s about investing time, and commitment for the long haul.

Young white kids like me grew up playing rugby; I was literally born with a rugby ball in my hands. You can’t just force black players into positions and by doing so ruin their careers, look at how many black players springbok careers have been destroyed because of transformation and coaches being forced to play players who just aren’t ready and haven’t had the correct sustained coaching and investment from a young age.

Do you think players like Fourie Dupreez woke up one day, went to a two week rugby coaching academy and was “transformed” into the best scrumhalf in world rugby? No, he has practised for hundreds and hundreds of hours from the age of 5 and fought hard to be at the top. Rugby is a religion to many of us and we are born into it.

Where are all the development clinics, and rugby facilities in poor areas? And I am not just talking about “fly by night” clinics and clubs that set themselves up to make a quick buck and then disappear with all of the investment capital in their pockets, I am talking about a professional sponsored model, similar to the Australian model that develops players at club level from a young age and is constantly monitored. What mechanisms are currently in place to monitor development?

Transformation needs to start at the beginning and work its way up to the top, and not the reversal which is what you are suggesting. Those black players that you want to see playing first class rugby need to be developed from 6 years old, they can’t just be created when they are 18, totally inexperienced and thrown to the lions. No pun intended.

So before blaming the unions and demanding certain transformation conditions for continued sponsorship, maybe it’s time to look at the causes of the symptoms that you are not happy with in SARU. Maybe it’s the sponsors that are putting their money in the wrong places and wanting the most exposure possible, so called bang for their bucks, after all nothing is free in this world.

Spare a thought for those white kids too young to know what discrimination against blacks was. Imagine being told you’re good enough, but not black enough. Try to make sense of that from a liberal perspective, and what resentments are planted in that young impressionable mind where there were none to begin with?

We forget sport is about winning. Sport has as much to do with politics, as Selebi has to do with scruples. We need the best players and coaches in order to win and remain competitive. And I am afraid to say being the best has nothing to do with the colour of your skin, it has to do with your abilities. If young black kids are not being developed properly it is not the fault of current white players selected on their abilities. These things take time, and as we can see we cannot force transformation from the top down.

Today, tomorrow, together….. remember?

Wayne G

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