Zizi Kodwa, the candid Minister of Sport, sternly warned sporting federations, indicating that he would implement legislation to ensure pay parity between male and female athletes in SA.
HeraldLIVE reports that, like many parts of the world, men’s sports in South Africa command higher salaries and endorsements than their female counterparts. Despite this, female athletes consistently demonstrate their prowess on the international stage.
Notably, there is a notable absence of professional leagues for women in major sports such as football, netball, rugby, and cricket within the South African context. Nevertheless, these athletes manage to outperform expectations in global tournaments.
Earlier this year, Proteas Women faced Australia during the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final in Cape Town. Recently, Banyana Banyana competed valiantly against Italy during the last 16 stage of the Fifa Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.
Expressing his frustration, Kodwa stated, “What embarrasses me and the leadership of football in the country is that in 2023 we are still discussing pay parity.”
He emphasised that the absence of professional leagues for women in South Africa is unacceptable. Kodwa asserted that, if necessary, legislation would be enacted to punish those who perpetuate unequal pay.
Given the existing government policy, Kodwa’s sentiment is clear: discussions around pay equity in South African sports should be unnecessary. “This issue should not be a discussion and if it means we must have a law that punishes those who still pay women less, we will make sure we have that law.”
Regarding football and netball, he expressed that it is a source of embarrassment for leadership not to have developed professional leagues for women over time.
Kodwa lauded the progress achieved quickly, including discussions with the National Lottery Commission, which has pledged support to foster pay parity and professional leagues.
At a recognition event for Banyana Banyana and the Netball Proteas, Kodwa stressed the importance of acknowledging achievements on the international stage. He voiced the necessity of recognising excellence, encouraging athletes to improve, and inspiring others.
Kodwa disclosed plans for a school sports indaba, a gathering to benchmark international best practices. The minister intends to engage countries with robust grassroots schools sport systems, such as New Zealand, Jamaica, and Germany, to learn from their experiences.
He highlighted the significance of learning from rugby’s successful schools sport system. He highlighted the event’s mission to craft a comprehensive blueprint to revolutionise and invigorate sports in South Africa.
Picture: Twitter / ChaukeDumisani1
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