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Political party drops legal bomb on SARU, WPRFU and minister of sport

NEWS: A little-known political party, the African Restoration Alliance, is at the forefront in the latest coup de main on the South African Rugby Union over its decision to place the Western Province Rugby Football Union under administration.

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ARA, as the first applicant, with co-applicants William Angelo Fisher and Godfrey Gavin Afrika, filed papers in the Western Cape High Court on Friday in an attempt to have the administration overturned by declaring the Section 29.5 of SARU’s constitution (under which the administration of WPRFU was implemented in October 2021) declared unconstitutional.

A spokesperson for SARU confirmed that they are aware of the court action and told @rugby365com that SARU would oppose the application.

It comes after the confirmation of the new equity partner for the Stormers – Red Disa Investments (Pty) Ltd.

It is important as the respondents include SARU, WPRFU, SARU President Mark Alexander, former CEO Jurie Roux, current CEO Rian Oberholzer, current administrator Peter Jooste and the Stormers Rugby’s new equity partner, Red Disa.

More significantly the court papers also list the Speaker Of The National Assembly, the Minister Of Sport, Arts And Culture and former WPRFU President Zelt Marais as respondents.

The papers include a statement by Marais back in October 2021 in which he implored clubs to ‘support’ the administration process.

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Zelt-statement-on-administration

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This is significant, as Afrika was a staunch supporter of Marais, when he served as a union delegate for his club Macassar, even though his club voted him out has not served as a club delegate for several years.

ARA, an offshoot of the African Christian Democratic Party, claims the placing of WPRFU under administration by SARU is ‘invalid and unconstitutional’.

“It was not lawfully justifiable at the time,” the court papers read, adding: “Alternatively, administration of WPRFU is presently no longer justified.”

It also wants the suspension of the WPRFU executive committee members by SARU – at the time of placing the union under administration – declared unlawful in that it was not valid, unconstitutional and of no force and effect, alternatively, unjustified at its inception, alternatively should it have been lawful at the time of its inception it is no longer lawful and/or justified.

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The court papers also aim to overturn the ban slapped on Marais – when he made an about-turn and started attacking SARU – which resulted in several warnings and a 12-month ban.

ARA, Afrika and Fisher, who have the support of former board member Philip Burns, want the recent Red Disa equity deal declared as ‘unconstitutional, invalid and of no force and effect’.

ARA said in the court papers that it brings this application on behalf of its ‘constituents’ – who are the rugby-playing and rugby-loving members who are all shareholders in the first respondent (WPRFU) and who all have the right to become members of the first respondent through the various clubs that exist in the Western Cape.

It wants to prevent SARU from going ahead with the sale of Newlands and the stadium precinct.

It also wants SARU to disclose its full audited annual financial reports and statements, together with its annual budgets, and that of its subsidiary and/or associate companies from 2010 until the present date.

ARA also want WPRFU elections to be held ‘within a period fixed by the court’.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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