Banyana Banyana captain Refiloe Jane with Sport minister Nathi Mthethwa. (Photo: GCIS)
- Banyana Banyana may have got a cash boost from the sports ministry, but calls have grown louder for equal pay for the main national teams.
- On top of the R9.2 million Banyana got for winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, they received an extra R5.8 million.
- South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan bemoaned that women’s soccer isn’t fully recognised from a broadcast rights perspective.
In the midst of the sea of green and gold that enveloped Banyana Banyana at the OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday, South Africa’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations’ winners also received a significant financial boost.
This was in the form of R5.8 million injection from Sports, Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa as the continental conquerors were welcomed with open arms by a jubilant crowd in Kempton Park.
South Africa, coached by Desiree Ellis and captained on the field by Refiloe Jane, beat Morocco 2-1 in Rabat on Saturday to claim their first ever Wafcon title after five failed finals.
Next to the bonus, cries for equal pay have also got louder as the pay disparity between men’s and women’s football remains a divisive topic.
Sports, Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa said at the arrival gathering that moves are afoot to sort out the pay disparity between men’s and women’s football.
“It is going to be a law in this country that Banyana Banyana and Bafana Bafana will be paid equally,” Mthethwa said.
“We are making that decision as the government. It’s not only Banyana Banyana but all the women’s teams [to be paid equally], we are supporting them as government.
“We’ve said to SAFA that when we give SAFA money they need to put a sum aside for women in general.”
The cash injection from the sports ministry will add onto the R9.2 million the players were already promised by South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan before their departed on their successful Moroccan conquest.
The sports department cash means the total pot Banyana will split is R15 million, meaning each player stands to take home around R577 000 each.
While it’s not within the stratospheric limits of what men’s teams earn for participation and making the early playoff rounds, it’s still a significant payday for the players, especially with the Hollywoodbets Super League, while highly beneficial from a player development perspective, is still not fully professional.
Jordaan said more must be done to ensure the sport looks after the well-being of the women’s team.
“How is it possible that when broadcast rights are paid for, the women’s team is not accounted for?” Jordaan said in an impromptu address in the player’s tent.
“That says that their rights have no value. There are people who are Banyana’s commercial partners, which means this team has value.
“You can see it today.”
Democratic Alliance member of parliament Tsepo Mhlongo, who also serves on the Parliamentary Sports portfolio committee, welcomed Mthethwa’s move to reward Banyana for their six-match unbeaten run that earned them their maiden continental title.
“We welcome the gesture as it shows that taxpayer’s money is being used accordingly and it can be accounted for,” Mhlongo said.
“We support the minister’s decision as it’s for a good cause, but we still believe the remuneration for men and women must be the same as they’re doing the same job.”
Mhlongo also bemoaned how sporting organisations have flouted laws when it came to gender pay disparities.
“Sporting codes are currently not adhering to the Commission for Gender Equality and we continue to see imbalances in the participation of women versus men in different sports,” Mhlongo said.