South Africa's largest trade union is threatening to protest at this weekend's All Blacks test in Cape Town over the lack of free-to-air television coverage.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Coastu) - which has 1.8 million members - is planning a protest at Newlands where the Springboks play the All Blacks on Sunday morning (NZT).

Union officials will meet with the South African Rugby Union on Thursday to decide if the protest will go ahead, South Africa's Sport24 website reported.

As in New Zealand, test rugby is only televised live on pay-TV channels in South Africa.
There is a two-hour delay before games are screened on SABC, the free-to-air channel.


The uproar in South Africa comes at a time when New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, holding the balance of government power, has made one of his "bottom lines" that sporting events of major, national significance are returned to free-to-air television.

Pulling this off is, however, problematic with broadcasting agreements forming the largest piece of the commercial rugby pie in most nations. Ultimately, returning sports to free-to-air would need the government to step up and fund the major shortfall.
Cosatu released a statement saying it wanted test matches free-to-air.

"National sports that must inspire the whole nation must be shown live on SABC, as it is a national sport of all the people," the statement read. "This kind of discrimination will never be allowed in a national soccer match, as the government would step in ensure it is available live for all citizens."

Costatu said rugby had been "denied [to] the majority of children in schools because of SARU's bad development programmes and the ministry allows them to get away with it".

"People who cannot afford DStv are treated like second hand citizens of South Africa, as they only get to see the game after it has been played because DStv has the rights. National sports that must inspire the whole nation must be shown live on SABC, as it is a national sport of all the people," Cosatu's Cape provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich told the Cape Argus.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago told the Argus that nothing could done because Supersport held the rights to broadcast the game. "The rights to the game is sold in this way and the condition is that the game is delayed. There is nothing we can do about it."