Fri 23 Nov 2018 | 06:07

Court interdict after WPRFU election bombshell?

Court interdict after WPRFU election bombshell?
Fri 23 Nov 2018 | 06:07
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.

WPRFU elctions candidates

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

Thelo Wakefield statement

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Court Interdict After Wprfu Election Bombshell? - South Africa | Rugby365