Nathi Mthethwa, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, questions the South African players in the Gallagher Premiership’s decision not to bend the knee for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Sale Sharks ‘ eight South African players, Rob du Preez (flyhalf), Faf de Klerk (scrumhalf), Dan du Preez (eighthman), Jono Ross (captain and flank), Lood de Jager (lock), Jean-Luc du Preez (lock), Akker van der Merwe (hooker) and Coenie Oosthuizen (prop) did not bend the knee before their game against Harlequins on Friday night.
However, the players still showed that they are opposed to racism by wearing T-shirts with the words “Rugby against Racism” on them. Although four players in the starting line-up bowed the knee, Manu Tuilagi – the English international player of Samoan descent – also remained standing.
Mthethwa was not happy with what he saw in England.
In his speech on his department’s Covid-19 aid fund strategy, the minister said he was in touch with Saru’s president, Mark Alexander.
“Although we do not want to put the wagon in front of the horses regarding the specific issue of the South African players in England who did not bend the knee in support of the BLM movement, we would like to know what is going on and what SA Rugby’s attitude about this, ”Mthethwa said.
“We saw that they wore T-shirts in support of BLM, but they did not bend the knee. When I saw it, I asked Saru’s president to explain what had happened so that we were on the same wavelength. ”
According to Mthethwa, the whole country was firmly behind the Springboks during last year’s successful World Cup campaign in Japan and racist behavior and attitudes will not be tolerated.
He added that Saru will meet on the matter.
“BLM is important. The fact remains that black players have been subjected to racism in South Africa. There are those who practice racism in secret and we will hunt them down because we know the pain that racism causes. ”
He added that a true non-racist society should not be something superficial.