Kolisi's quota comments 'unfortunate' - Sport committee chair

Cape Town - Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation, Beauty Dlulane, has cautioned sports personalities on commenting on race issues in the aftermath of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi's remarks about quotas in South African rugby.

READ: Siya Kolisi's Madiba comments ruffle a few Twitter feathers

Speaking to Japanese website Kyodo News, Kolisi said he does not want to be picked because of the colour of his skin and that former President Nelson Mandela would not support a quota system in South African sport. 

Kolisi last year became the first black African to captain the Springboks. 

Asked if former president Nelson Mandela would have supported quotas, Kolisi said: "I don’t think he would have supported that, but I don't know him." 

His comments led to a heated debate on Twitter on Tuesday, and on Wednesday Dlulane weighed in with a statement, saying that quotas in South African sport are a necessary tool of transformation.

"Transformation in our country has to happen. Quotas in un-transforming sport codes, especially rugby at national level, are a way of enforcing it," said Dlulane. 

"If some sectors resist being part of the new South Africa, as seen in some sporting codes such as rugby and cricket at national level, then the committee supports the use of the quota system. This has no bearing on competence.”

Dlulane said Kolisi's view is "unfortunate" and cautioned against sport personalities commenting on race issues. 

"Their opinions might be interpreted as being insensitive to the realities of our country. South Africa is a diverse nation. Transformation is government policy and will remain so for as long as necessary."

In her statement, Dlulane also congratulated Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis and Banyana-striker Thembi Kgatlana for winning the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Women's Coach of the Year and Women's Player of the Year awards