The Democratic Alliance would like to take the opportunity to wish the Isuzu Southern Kings all the best for their upcoming GUINNESS PRO14 Championship season, which kicks off in Parma Italy on Friday against the Zebre Rugby club.
We would also like to congratulate the team on the securing of a title sponsor in Isuzu Motors South Africa, and the announcement of an equity partner purchasing a 51% share in the franchise.
It is a well-known fact that the Eastern Cape is the birthplace for many talented sports stars, but all to often they have had to move elsewhere in order to access the opportunities to showcase their talents.
Too often have we had to sit back and watch our rising stars being poached by other rugby franchises, who have had the financial backing to offer them better contracts.
The struggle of the Eastern Cape trying to secure a spot in an international competition, to create the platform for our young stars to shine, has been well documented, and we are truly grateful to see that Eastern Cape based businesses have now partnered with the franchise as they continue on this journey.
We are also encouraged by the commitment from the new equity partners on the re-establishment of a rugby academy in the province that will help identify and nurture the talents of our future sport stars, with a focus on those from previously disadvantaged areas.
As the Democratic Alliance we believe in equal opportunities for all, and this new chapter for the Southern Kings opens up those opportunities previously denied to the province’s talented rugby players.
With a long term commitment from sponsors and new direct investment in the franchise, the Southern Kings are now well equipped to build a sustainable franchise, and we wish them well in all their future endeavours.
Shadow MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture
A shortened version of the above was carried in The Herald: August 31, 2018