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SARU reacts to EPRU and 'gunslingers' stand-off

UPDATE: The South African Rugby Union moved to stabilise the warring Eastern Province Rugby Union.


Criminal charges were filed during a turbulent week for the Eastern Cape union – including a sensational court ruling, gunslinging ‘bodyguards’ arriving at an executive meeting and the antagonistic disruption of a media briefing.

Acting President George Malgas confirmed to @rugby365com that he laid criminal charges against Elbo Prince – the man who arrived unannounced at a special executive meeting with armed ‘bodyguards’.

Prince is one of several respondents defeated by Malgas in a court case last week.

The latest jaw-dropping developments followed a ruling in the High Court of South Africa (Eastern Cape Division) in favour of 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 – which had four changes of President in the last year.

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

However, that sparked a series of events that can best be described as militaristic and bellicose.

(Continue below …)

EPRU court ruling extract

In what was blatant intimidatory tactics, armed men with their faces covered accompanied Prince – as he arrived unannounced at a special executive meeting called by Malgas to discuss the court judgment.


While his armed companions stood in the corners of the meeting room, Prince repeatedly shouted down and disrupted Malgas’ meeting.

Malgas claimed they were being ‘held hostage’ at their meeting.

The hooligan behaviour continued when a media briefing at the Eastern Province Rugby Union’s offices on Friday was also disrupted by Prince and supporters of Antonie and Serfontein.

Malgas told @rugby365com that Friday’s briefing aimed to update the public on the situation within EPRU.

Prince burst in and hurled a string of unfounded accusations at Malgas, vowing to ‘disrupt’ any plans Malgas might have.

Malgas was not allowed to address the media, as Prince repeatedly raised his voice – until Malgas eventually gave up in disgust and ended the briefing.

On Tuesday SARU issued a statement in which they ‘advised’ the EPRU to heed its earlier advice and hold a special general meeting within 21 days to elect union office bearers.

“SARU wrote to the union [EPRU] on Monday to reaffirm its position following a court order on June 4, which set aside the election of Gerald Antonie and Roger Serfontein as President and Deputy President respectively of the EPRU,” the SARU statement said.

The effect of the court order is to make vacant the positions of President, Deputy President and Chairperson of coaching and development at the union.

“The EPRU disregarded SARU’s advice on due process in February and the election of Antonie and Serfontein took place as an adjunct to the Annual Meeting,” SARU said.

“The union has been urged to revert to the original process.

“SARU has also offered to support the process by acting as a scrutineer if the advice is taken,”

Malgas told @rugby365com that he will not back down from the bullies and is planning to forge ahead to restore dignity to the troubled union.


* Related:

Court rules in EPRU Presidential stand-off
SARU throws the book at Zelt with eight new charges
SARU and SAREO face crucial call after arbitration

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