AfriForum sends open letter to SuperSport about sport quotas
14 August 2017
AfriForum wrote an open letter today to Gideon Khobane, CEO of SuperSport, in which the organisation requests SuperSport’s policy on freedom of speech to be put in writing. This follows media reports over the weekend that SuperSport will no longer be making use of former Springbok Derick Hougaard’s services after he had criticised the quota system on Twitter. SuperSport has denied the rumours behind their decision (see Hougaard's Facebook post here).
Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, writes in the letter that there is uncertainty over SuperSport’s position on freedom of speech. The conclusion that can be made is that SuperSport won’t tolerate any criticism of the governing party’s political agenda. “If this is the case, it boils down to a gross violation of freedom of speech,” Kriel says.
Kriel adds that, although racially-motivated transformation in the form of representativeness and race quotas is the current politically-correct viewpoint in South Africa, it is important to note that this viewpoint is not only immoral, but also that the emphasis on race quotas to the detriment of merit destroys performance. The policy also comes down to a violation of international law regarding equality in sport.
See text of letter below:
14 August 2017
Open letter to Gideon Khobane
Dear Mr Khobane
SUPERSPORT’S TREATMENT OF RACIAL CRITICISM ON QUOTAS
It is with concern that AfriForum took notice of news reports over the past weekend from which can be deduced that SuperSport will not tolerate any differences of opinion over civil right issues. Rapport reported on 13 August that former Springbok Derick Hougaard had been informed by SuperSport that they would no longer make use of his services after he had criticised the race quota policy on Twitter.
Hougaard told Rapport that he had been called in and told that his tweet – in which he stated that transformation in sport had a snowball effect on the Springboks – had upset Government and that he (Hougaard) should be fired.
In reaction, Clinton van der Berg, SuperSport’s spokesperson, denied in Rapport that Hougaard had been fired and said that no “formal complaint” had been brought against Hougaard. In today’s Beeld Van der Berg emphasised that Hougaard was a free-lancer and that SuperSport could therefore decide at its discretion whether or not to make use Hougaard.
This viewpoint does not answer the question about SuperSport tolerance towards diverse opinions, however. It seems that there is uncertainty about SuperSport’s policy on these matters.
One conclusion that can be made from the report is that SuperSport does not tolerate any criticism on the political agenda of the governing party. If this is indeed the case, it comes down to gross violation of freedom of speech.
Although racially-motivated transformation in the form of representativeness and race quotas is the current politically-correct viewpoint in South Africa, it is important to note that this viewpoint is not only immoral, but also that the emphasis on race quotas to the detriment of merit destroys performance. The policy also comes down to a violation of international law on equality in sport.
AfriForum wants to avail itself of this opportunity to obtain clarity on the matter from SuperSport. Your written feedback on SuperSport’s position on transformation in sport as well as freedom of speech that SuperSport personnel, presenters and commentators enjoy will help to remove any uncertainty in this regard.
Issued by Kallie Kriel, CEO, AfriForum, 14 August 2017