Court interdict after WPRFU election bombshell?
REACTION: Vice-presidential candidate Ronald Bantom confirmed that he is considering obtaining a court interdict in the wake of the Western Province Rugby Football Union election bombshell on Friday.
Outgoing WPRFU President Thelo Wakefield confirmed that he was to reinstate a disciplinary hearing against Bantom over an incident between Bantom and Jessie Claassen at the City Park stadium on 9 August 2017.
“In accordance with Regulation 14.7 he [Bantom] has been suspended,” Wakefield told @rugby365com.
It has cast a pall over the already contentious elections this coming Monday – when Bantom is set to contest the Vice-Presidency with Spencer King.
The elections have split the embattled WPRFU along two clear lines – the supporters of Presidential candidates Peter Jooste and Zelt Marais.
The timing of the disciplinary hearing against Bantom has been described as “suspicious”.
“I am considering my options,” Bantom told @rugby365com, adding that one of his options is getting an interdict against the hearing.
Bantom also raised the possibility of a “motion of no confidence” in the outgoing President, Wakefield, which would prevent him from addressing the delegates at the election this coming Monday, November 26.
The disciplinary hearing – which has been the subject of more than one executive council meeting – is the result of an incident between Bantom and Jessie Claassen, the national manager of the Vuka Rugby development programme, in August 2017 – a process he felt was concluded last year.
However, the incident resurfaced at the Cape Town Sevens on December 10 last year, when former WPRFU vice-president Gerald Njengele and Claassen became involved in a verbal spat – with Njengele being charged, found guilty, banned for four years, later cleared on appeal and then resigned.
Bantom, who was a witness in the disciplinary hearing of Njengele, feels that he has become a target because he asked “tough questions” – in particular surrounding the ongoing Aerios saga.
“I would like to know what sins I have committed that Wakefield has been so fervent in his attempts to get rid of me,” Bantom told @rugby365com.
The Njengele-versus-Claassen stand-off was littered with racial undertones.
However, Wakefield said the Bantom hearing is related only to the City Park incident on 9 August 2017.
The outgoing President did not want to elaborate on the reasons for reinstating a disciplinary hearing that was previously “put to bed” and whether it is related to next week’s crucial elections.
By Jan de Koning