Soon-to-be-released IRR poll shows over 80% of South Africans prefer merit in sport
The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) says a new poll, which is to be released later this year, shows that 83% of South Africans - and 82% of black South Africans - believe that merit should be the only criteria for selecting national sports teams.
The IRR revealed this result on Thursday as it welcomed the announcement by Cricket SA CEO Thabang Moroe that there will be no racial "targets" in selecting the national squad for the Cricket World Cup, to be held in England later this year.
"The Institute of Race Relations has long argued that merit should be the primary basis of selecting sportsmen and women to represent South Africa at national level," the organisation said.
The institute said while a case could be made for initiatives to promote inclusivity at lower levels, they should not be considered in top-flight international sport.
"Players of colour who are good enough to be noticed by national selectors through performances in franchise cricket are unlikely to need an additional leg-up in any case," the IRR said.
The institute said that even without any sort of racial target, based on their merits, close to half of the squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup would likely be "players of colour" in any event.
"The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, and JP Duminy, among others, will be among the first names jotted down on any selector’s team sheet for a South African ODI XI. And this is the way most South Africans want their national teams to be selected."
It said that rather than focusing on the racial make-up of the country’s national sports teams, the country must strive as far as possible to ensure that everyone who wanted to play a sport, and excel in it, had the opportunity to do so.
"But it is telling that fewer than 1,500 of our 23,500 public schools even have a cricket pitch. Ensuring that a certain proportion of the Proteas are black won’t change this."