The Springbok is being hunted in Parliament and could soon become extinct – at least on South African rugby jerseys – if the ANC has its way.
The spectre of the Bok emblem, seen by many as a symbol of apartheid, was raised during Tuesday’s meeting of the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport and recreation.
ANC MP Strike Ralegoma asked that the emblem be replaced with that of the Protea, which is used by every other sporting code.
“For successful transformation, all national teams must play with a single emblem,” he said.
Ralegoma also criticised the slow pace of transformation in rugby and told the South African Rugby Union leadership there would be consequences if the game doesn’t transform quicker.
In 2010, the SA Rugby Union chose to keep both the Protea and the Springbok on the jersey.
Democratic Alliance MP for Sport and Recreation Solly Malatsi said yesterday the 2010 solution was for the best.
“This issue was discussed and an agreement reached a few years ago and the DA believes it was a fair compromise,” Malatsi says.
He adds: “There are more substantive issues like transformation that needs urgent attention.”
Cosatu Western Cape secretary Tony Ehrenreich who previously spoke out about the lack of transformation in rugby, agreed with Malatsi.
“Personally I don’t think the Springbok logo is the biggest issue, transformation in the coaches, referees and teams is the biggest issue.”
But the Economic Freedom Fighters agreed with the ANC, saying the 110-year-old emblem has to go.
EFF MP in the Sport Committee, George Moteka, says: “This is a national rugby team and the Springbok is not a national symbol… like the Protea. Both the Protea and the Springbok are already being used but that doesn’t mean it’s right.”
The debate on Tuesday was concluded and there were no immediate plans to change emblems.
The South African Rugby Union has the final say on the look and design of the Bok kit.
A source at Saru says the matter has not yet been raised with them in writing.