Govt says it owns Springbok emblem

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The government yesterday insisted that they were the rightful owners of the Springbok emblem that the rugby federation claims belongs to them.

Makhenkesi Stofile, the minister of sport and recreation, said the disputed emblem was registered by the now defunct National Sport Council (NSC) in 1986.

The NSC was replaced by the South African Sports Commission, which was disbanded two years ago. Its duties were integrated into Stofile's department.

"Rugby entered into an agreement with the NSC in February 1998 to use the emblem for the World Cup in England for marketing and branding purpose," said Stofile.

"The condition was that rugby will pay royalties for the use of the emblem. It was a 10-year agreement which expired in 2006 and was not renewed.

"The problem is they have not been paying us the royalties as per the agreement to use the emblem for the purpose stated; they owe us money.

"The irony is that Mark Alexander [now Saru deputy president] was a commissioner [of the sports commission] where he dealt with this issue.

"He knows rugby owes us money for royalties. Brian van Rooyen [former Sarfu president] can also attest to this. Louis Luyt is old, he won't remember anything.

"We are prepared to produce proof that we own the emblem. The issue here is patriotism. We are saying all the federations, bar rugby, are proudly displaying the King Protea alone.

"You can't have one out of 100 federations being different from the rest of South Africa. Rugby are dishonest with the agreement.

"Rugby were the only federation with such an agreement."

Sowetan has learnt that Stofile will meet his legal team today to come up with exact figures of what is owed to them for royalties.