Steps to follow after Kings official's racist rant
REACTION: The Southern Kings have started an internal disciplinary process, following a racist rant by board member Bantwini Matika.
Matika, in Facebook posts that elicited angry reactions, accused former Springbok coach Nick Mallett and television analyst of being a racist.
This follows after the Port Elizabeth-based franchise revealed that Mallett will be part of the panel that will find a replacement for axed coach Deon Davids.
In his Facebook post, Matika said the Kings don’t need help from “Racist Mallet[t]” to find a suitable coach for the team.
“Mallet[t] is not suitable to help us and look for a coach who will be dedicated to build a totally transformed Kings team,” he said in his rant.
“Mallet[t] will never support our transformation agenda and therefore is ill-equipped to choose an appropriate coach for the Kings.”
In a separate post, using a vile expletive, he said he is happy to confront ‘institutionalised racism’ in rugby.
In a statement to @rugby365com, Kings board Chairman Loyiso Dotwana said the series of Facebook posts from Matika is “completely unacceptable” and do not represent the views or position of the board of the Southern Kings.
“We have already initiated a process to deal with this unfortunate incident internally,” Dotwana said.
He added that they support Mallett’s participation in the panel that will find a coach to replace Davids.
“We have previously communicated that the Kings are looking to appoint a new head coach. As a result, the board is assembling a reputable panel of experts to assist in the interviewing of prospective candidates for the position.
“However, this panel has not yet been finalised, but it must be pointed out that it will be chaired by the Chairman of the board.
“We believe that Nick Mallet has the right expertise to assist us in selecting a coach who will help build a professional and competitive rugby team for the future.
“The Kings are the first black-owned rugby franchise in South Africa and, as such, are fully committed to the transformation of the sport in the country.”
The Kings recently advertised their head coach position after it was announced that Davids, who had been at the helm since 2016, departed by “mutual agreement”.
The Port Elizabeth media sees Matika’s racist rant as part of a power struggle.
Matika also accused Kings Dotwana of not knowing rugby and relying on what he said were white liberal brains to help him.
Matika, who is also EP Rugby Union deputy president, lashed out at the Kings owners because, as a board member, he had not been consulted about Mallett and had read about his involvement in the newspaper.
“We are testing whether the EP Rugby Union, as a minority shareholder, is significant or insignificant,” Matika said in an interview with the Port Elizabeth-based Herald newspaper.
“This is a test case.”
The new owners, called the Greatest Rugby Company in the Whole Wide World, have a 74 percent share and the EPRU 26 percent in the Pro14 franchise.
“After a number of decisions taken by the new owners, we realised this was not what we had been expecting. This was a different animal, but under the name of a black consortium,” Matika told the Herald.
“The first strategic appointment was a white man by the name of Robbie Kempson.
“We debated around that in the board and we were not happy.
“We raised reasons and put up proper arguments that this was not right.
“We challenged this but we were bulldozed because they knew what they wanted.
“He was head-hunted.
“But we said maybe things are going to get better and let’s accept Robbie and all work together.
“Then, in another strategic position, white lady [Leigh Heard] who comes from the Sharks was appointed as chief operating officer. Those were two crucial appointments which demonstrated clearly that we are not moving in the right direction.
“Robbie is the man who is influencing our decision-makers and leaders and they listen to Robbie only.
“We had to fight that.
“I personally know that the chairman of the board, Loyiso Dotwana, does not know about rugby.
“He needed brains to help him about rugby.
“Unfortunately for him, he relies on white liberal brains to support him and we are contesting that.
“I am making sure that when he gets a white voice in the left ear he must get a black voice on the right.
“But it is difficult for us because there is Rory Stear [deputy chair] in one ear and Robbie Kempson in the other ear.
“So we have to shout [to get] attention as a black voice and we are sick and tired of that.
“The bad thing was the way the black coaches, Deon Davids and Chumani Booi, were treated by this franchise – especially Deon, who worked against all odds.
“The last straw was reading that Nick Mallett was here in Port Elizabeth.
“The chairperson has my phone number, but I did not have a clue about that.
“I want to make sure as a board member [that] the committee that will be established to recruit is 70% black and 30% white.
“We will look for black rugby brains – we do have it here in the Eastern Cape.”
By Jan de Koning, with additional reporting by HeraldLIVE