Racist rugby player outrages South African politicians

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- South African political parties across the board have roundly denounced the racism scandal in which rugby player Geo Cronje was expelled from a World Cup training squad after he refused to share a room with a black player, Quinton Davids.
Cronje, who was ordered by coach Rudolf Straueli to share a hotel room at a training camp in Pretoria with Davids reportedly refused saying he would not use the same bathroom, toilet or shower as Davids.
The ruling African National Congress welcomed the decision by the Rugby Managing Director Riaan Oberholzer to exclude Cronje from the national team.
"We are appalled and disgusted by Cronje's actions and we believe he deserves nothing less than being excluded from the rugby fraternity," said ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama.
"The rugby fraternity in this country has come a long way since the days when it was an exclusive domain of white people, and the transformation has been rather commendable," Ngonyama added.
He said the South African public and the rugby fraternity in particular must demonstrate its commitment to a non racial South Africa based on mutual respect and peaceful co-existence devoid of any form of racial stereotypes, by rejecting and expressing its disapproval of Cronje's actions.
"Surely he is not the kind of person who can profess to represent South Africa while he loathes our constitution and behaves in a despicable manner towards a fellow player because of the colour of his skin," Ngonyama said.
Also commenting on the incident, the Independent Democrats party said the axing of Cronje will send shock waves through South African rugby circles at a time when the Springboks need to devote their time and energy to preparing for the World Cup after a spate of poor international appearances.
"Ten years ago, the world watched in awe as a unified South African team represented the rainbow nation in the 1995 World Cup and emerged victorious in front of an elated President Nelson Mandela," ID leader Patricia de Lille recalled.
"It is sad that instances of racism still occur in South African sports especially in the ranks of the country's national team, which should be an example to young, up and coming athletes," she lamented.

29 august 2003 09:38:00

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