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South African pros to meet over problems

Several of South Africa's leading black professional golfers will hold the first of two meetings on Sunday to address their grievances over the current set-up of the game in the country.

Vincent Tshabalala, 57, the player who accused the Southern Africa tour of racism, told Reuters the meeting would aim to clarify what was agreed at the 1991 unification talks.

Those talks brought about the merger of the black Tournament Players' Association and the then all-white South African PGA Tour.

The main issue of contention is the five tournament exemptions granted by the Southern Africa Tour to black professionals in the interest of development.

Tshabalala said that before the unification talks the number of exemptions was 10.

The 1976 French Open champion has repeatedly called for a return to those 10 exemptions and says their reduction to five is one of the points wrongly agreed upon at the 1991 talks.

"Sunday's meeting will involve everybody who was at those talks and it will be to clarify exactly what was agreed upon," Tshabalala told Reuters.

"We will then inform all of the black professionals in the country of what came out of the meeting and decide where we go from there.

"Maybe it will entail breaking away from the S.A. Tour and forming our own tour once again," said Tshabalala.

The matter has also been brought to the attention of the national controlling body of sport.

South Africa's PGA are scheduled to meet the National Sports Council (NSC) -- who were instrumental in bringing about the changes in rugby union in the country -- next month to discuss the NSC's proposed restructuring of the game.

"We will meet sometime in April and are waiting for the S.A. PGA to give us a date we can agree upon. But it will be a meeting with all the stakeholders in golf in South Africa, because we believe the current structures in the game are incorrect," Mvuzo Mbebe, the chief executive officer of the NSC, said.

TRW