SARU unveils transformation road map

Date published: February 25 2015

The Strategic Transformation Plan (STP) of the South African Rugby Union was the culmination of two years’ hard work and consultation, SARU president Oregan Hoskins said on Tuesday.

The wide-ranging plan – which was approved by the SARU General Council in December – would provide a road map for rugby for the next five years, he said.

"The development of this Plan was essential for South African rugby to maintain its place as a leading South African sports federation. It has been the No 1 priority for me since I assumed the presidency and for the Executive Council," said Hoskins.

"We started this new approach in October 2012 with a Transformation Indaba, since when we have worked very hard and with great determination to deliver a Plan to guide our sport all the way to the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.

"Our document is aligned with the government’s National Sports Plan and is definitely not only about the number of black players on the field. It has six focus areas: demographic representation; access to the game; skills and capacity development; performance; community development and social responsibility and corporate governance.

"Within those six dimensions are 71 key performance indicators; for instance we want introduce 150 000 new primary schoolchildren to the game by 2019; accredit 1 500 new administrators; raise preferential procurement to 40% from targeted suppliers; increase the number of women in administration to 40% and raise the black representation in our national teams."

Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU, was at pains to emphasise to media that the STP was not a quota system.

"The STP is a road map," said Roux.

"We have a destination in mind and know there will be short cuts and at other times we may stray from the path. There are no punishments if our targets are not met but without a structured objective, backed by implementation plans we would be nowhere.

"Transformation is a critical business imperative in South Africa and if we had not taken this new approach to what had been an organic process up until recently, we would have put our sport in peril of becoming marginalised.

"It will unlock untapped talent and has the potential to awaken corporate interest in rugby where it may previously not have existed. The simple facts are that the majority of rugby supporters and players – at schoolboy and club level – in South Africa are black; 84% of this country’s under-18s are black African – and we want them in our game in some way."

Roux said that rugby was entirely unrecognisable from the game that returned form isolation in 1992, countering the perception that "nothing had changed".

"SARU has had a black president for 17 years; our Executive Council is 75% black; we’ve had a black Springbok coach; the leading Springbok try scorer of all time is black, and the DHL Western Province team that won the Absa Currie Cup in October averaged 40% black representation and had a black coach and captain.

"Rugby is massively transformed but we know we have challenges: only one in 35 schools in provinces such as KZN, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West play rugby for example, which provides unique challenges for those provinces compared to the Western and Eastern Cape where 60% of school rugby is played.

"And we know that we are only judged on representation in the Springbok team. We’ve spent R500m on development in rugby since 1992 and can point to significant advances but the Bok team is the only measure on which we are judged.

"We understand that and we also understand that is also unfair to put that pressure on the Springbok coach without offering him any assistance – his teams can only reflect what is going on at the elite end of the domestic game.

"Since we started the process of developing this plan the provinces have shown their bona fides and black representation is increasing. We will reap those rewards over the coming seasons and decades."

Roux said that the STP would be monitored by a new SARU department – Strategic Performance Management – which had been established out of the old Development Department in December.  Specially developed software had also been designed to track progress.

Hoskins said: "The passing of the STP was a watershed moment for South African rugby. I am looking forward to seeing the progress we achieve over the coming years.