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SARU loses in another court battle

NEWS: A day after losing its arbitration battle against the players’ union, MyPlayers, the South African Rugby Union suffered another significant loss in a court case.

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The latest jaw-dropping development saw the High Court of South Africa (Eastern Cape Division) ruled in favour of ousted acting Eastern Province Rugby Union President George Malgas.

SARU was the first respondent in the case, EPRU the second respondent, EPRU President Gerald Antonie the third and his deputy Roger Serfontein the fourth. Additional respondents included Benjamin Bans, Valerie Witbooi and Elbo Prince.

This is the latest in a long-standing and tumultuous battle for power in the embattled Port Elizabeth-based union – who had four changes of President in the last year.

On Tuesday Judge Vuyokazi Noncembu ruled in Malgas’s favour.

EPRU court ruling extract

He applied in April to have Antonie and Serfontein removed from office.

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Judge Noncembu, in his ruling, ordered that the decisions of the February elections be overturned and set aside.

The decision by the EPRU executive committee on March 16 to ‘suspend’ Malgas’ membership has also been set aside.

The EPRU’s Annual General Meeting of April 20 was also set aside.

It all means Malgas is restored as President.

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Malgas was ‘suspended’ for allegedly consistently breaking the union’s code of conduct and disrespecting the union.

He then lodged the court application against Antonie and Serfontein, because they allegedly defied the union’s constitution and “lack integrity”.0

The period of turmoil – going back to the Cheeky Watson era almost a decade ago – took another intriguing twist in June last year when then-EPRU President Maasdorp Cannon was suspended for two years by SARU.

He was found guilty of contravening the SARU Constitution and its Code of Conduct.

Cannon appeared before an independent judicial committee over 14 months on six charges relating to a speech he made in February 2022 during which he variously described SARU as being a racist organisation; its leadership as “selling-out” SARU; and that the Springbok was a racist emblem.

The comments were subsequently published in social media and mainstream media.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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