Although moving from rugby coaching to politics may seem like a giant, unqualified leap for some, former Springboks coach Peter de Villiers feels he is ready to be a mayor.
De Villiers is running for mayor of Drakenstein in the Western Cape for the GOOD party in the upcoming local government elections on 1 November.
In an interview on Thursday, the 64-year-old told eNCA his repertoire had now been expanded – from coaching 40 players in the past to leading an entire community.
He said he was not born a Springbok coach, but since achieving this, he could become anything.
Besides, the complicated world of rugby has its fair share of politics too.
“When I grew up during apartheid, politics were part of our DNA. Everyday we lived in a struggle. We had strategies on how to combat, how to win, how to overcome.”
And now, he plans to put these skills in practice, he said.
Linking the rich and the poor
One of the areas of focus for De Villiers will be to narrow the gap between rich and poor, which he said had more to do with hope and self-esteem than with money.
The GOOD party said in their statement on his mayoral candidacy that he has been a leader his entire life, and knows the pressures of expectation and the powers of teamwork.
“He also understands the cycle of poverty, and the difficulties people of colour face when they break free of their historial cast.
“He has eaten at some of the poshest tables in Paarl, and also many of the poorest.”
The party said when he became South Africa’s national rugby team coach in 2008, the rugby fraternity “wasn’t ready for its black coach”.
“Instead of lauding him for his record, SA Rugby treated him like a DA [Democratic Alliance] experiment.”
But, on the plus side, “rugby’s loss is good people’s gain”.
The party said he was “passionate about levelling the playing field in his hometown”, that he wants to build “a common understanding among the people” and is on a mission to uplift the Drakenstein area, nestled within the Cape Winelands district.
De Villiers was born in Paarl.
Compiled by Nica Richards