Opinion — Peacemakers Conflict Management

By: Peacemakers  11-11-2011
Keywords: Human Rights, Conflict Management, Hr Managers

Today’s post has a very personal, and special significance to me.

Yes, this has certain economic implications for South African Chinese as a whole.
However, more importantly, I see this is a restitution of a portion of our dignity as a fully contributing segment of South African society.

You see, its not about wanting to be a part of the “BEE Bandwagon”.

Its not about wanting a share of fat government contracts.

Its about wanting the acknowledgment that our basic human rights were infringed upon. Its about getting more South Africans to understand that we too were treated as second class

During the height of Apartheid, we were denied the right to use certain facilities based on our race.

We could not own property.

We were even denied the vote, but were expected to pay taxes.

This ruling will go a long way to dispelling the speculation of the uninformed surrounding our identities as fully fledged South African citizens. It goes without saying that this ruling will provide a standard of fairness based on legal precedent with which HR managers and similar recruitment and personnel specialists can make regarding employment contracts.

Here at Peacemakers, we pride ourselves on our approach to Conflict Management which involves getting our clients to acknowledge and work towards fulfilling their Basic Human Needs.

Today, I (and many others like me) woke up today with a significant portion of our Basic Human Needs fulfilled.

Luke Watson’s controversial appointment in the South African Springbok rugby team has stirred up a veritable hornets nest of opinions among the population at large.
I thought it would be interesting to ask the opinion of of someone who knows far more about rugby than I ever could: my Mentor, Dr. Gavin Bradshaw.

On the Luke Watson incident by Dr. Gavin Bradshaw 

The terrain of sport, the selection of teams and the politics thereof are still unduly influenced by the incomplete process of reconciliation in this country. In very few other places, can team selection, and management be such a controversial issue. Though sports mad, and with great depth of talent, South Africa has performed abysmally, by its own standards since achieving democracy, with the singular exception of our 1995 rugby world cup victory. Cricket, rugby and soccer have all been sacrificed on the altar of political infighting and political correctness.

Luke Watson is a superlative , multi-dimensional player, with speed, ball sense, handling kills and a strategic feel for the game that have been unequalled in this country in recent years. He has consistently improved on those skills and abilities – in comparison with many others who have never moved on to the next level. This was recognized in his 2006 rugby-player of the year award. In truth, Watson should have been one of the players that Jake White built his teams around. Sadly, there is a steely determination to avoid that at all costs. Watson was not even included in the extended training squad of forty-five, which is simply unthinkable.

The reasons for Watson’s omission have always been political. There are a number of issues that one can point to in this regard. First and foremost is his position as the son of a white rugby player (of all people), who gave up his chances of national selection, in order to play with African sportsmen. That is simply too much for the rugby establishment to countenance, even today. The recent history of South African rugby contains too many reminders of its lack of transformation. Camp Staaldraad comes to mind, as do the racist comments of a former coach, still involved in the firmament of South African rugby.

The second issue is all about Eastern Province. Eastern Province rugby has been systematically destroyed over the past decade. Despite its proud history of fine rugby, despite the consistent achievement of the Grey High school at the top of schools rugby, despite the long domination of Despatch in club rugby tournaments, and the fine performances of UPE in university leagues, despite providing players to all the franchises, this province languishes due, it must be said to some of its own mismanagement, often also politically motivated, but also due to the determination of South African rugby to exclude the province from the super game.

Thirdly, and this is probably the most serious in the Watson case, is the outspokenness of of the Watson family on some of the issues. Luke is being punished for speaking his mind, or for his father, speaking his mind. The current rugby establishment are intimidated by intelligence, and forthrightness. They seek malleable players, who will do what they are told. This is why numerous South African rugby teams have not been able to respond to game-plan changes, prompting constant complaints from the commentating and journalist fraternity, about their inflexibility.  This may sound just a little bit similar to accusations concerning the South African cricket teams antics in the Carribbean – and of course it is. The problem is the same. Thinking individuals are not encouraged.

South Africa has consistently punched below its weight in rugby circles in the recent past, simply because it has opted for lumbering, slow-witted loose forwards, who have been hopelessly outperformed by the agility, and game sense of players such as Richie McCall, George Smith, and Waugh. We are only now beginning to field such players, and the results are beginning to speak for themselves. South African rugby needs to catch up with world trends very quicky. We have to truly embrace non-racialism, separate political issues from sporting ones, embrace professionalism, leave the personal grudges behind.

Jake White has a massive problem. He will, for the first time be able to choose his players from a country that has finally managed to dominate the Super fourteen. The talent is there. The real issue that will be exposed when the national team runs onto the field – is whether White can identify the talent, and mould it into a truly dominant force in world rugby. Can South Africa truly transcend racialism, not simply through lip-service to political power, and vested rugby interests, but openly and honestly on the rugby field.

Dr. Bradshaw is the current program leader of the Conflict Management Program at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. He also occupies the position of Director for the Unit for the Study and Resolution of Conflict. He is a past rugby player and coach.

The information in this article was current at 08 Nov 2011

Keywords: Conflict Management, Hr Managers, Human Rights, Personnel Specialists

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Yes, this has certain economic implications for South African Chinese as a whole.However, more importantly, I see this is a restitution of a portion of our dignity as a fully contributing segment of South African society. It goes without saying that this ruling will provide a standard of fairness based on legal precedent with which HR managers and similar recruitment and personnel specialists can make regarding employment contracts.


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