Embattled WPRFU faces a new court battle
BREAKING NEWS: On the surface, it appears to be calm, but underneath there is another volcano about to erupt at Newlands.
@rugby365com can reveal that the Western Province Rugby Football Union could soon face another court case, as the administrative bungling of the Zelt Marais era continues unabated.
It has been confirmed that Junaid Moerat plans to institute legal proceedings in an attempt to force the Marais-led WPRFU executive to overturn his suspension.
Moerat, a former candidate for the CEO position of the union’s professional arm (WP Professional Rugby Pty Ltd), was suspended on February 15 this year.
He was accused of having “leaked” information to the media in regards to a proposed deal with French giants Stade Français Paris – the brainchild of discredited former Southern Spears CEO Tony McKeever.
Even though the proposed venture never got past the ‘initial talks’ stage, McKeever continued to punt himself as the ‘strategic advisor’ in the negotiations.
It was those media leaks that resulted in the suspension of Moerat and despite a succession of subsequent meeting/hearings – the last of which took place about a month ago – the process seems to have stalled.
Moerat, who has vehemently protested his innocence, confirmed to @rugby365com that he is considering taking the matter further to expedite the process.
“My legal team has written to union and they haven’t responded,” Moerat said, adding: “That leaves us no choice but to approach the high court.”
He would not elaborate on the reasons behind the decision, but it is understood there are questions around the legitimacy of the entire disciplinary process.
This is the latest in a catalogue of court cases involving WPRFU in the last few years.
Top of that list is the ongoing property saga and related legal costs – after Dream World Investments, an associated company within the Flyt Group, filed formal papers on WPRFU in the Western Cape High Court in March to recover a loan amount of just under ZAR112-million – had the potential to sink the Cape Town union.
It has resulted in SA Rugby stepping in to set up a six-man committee – a collaborative effort between WPRFU, WPPR and the national body – in an attempt to reach a “settlement” with the Flyt Property group.
@rugby365com can also reveal that a proposal has been floated for WPRFU to offer up some of its properties as a ‘settlement‘ in return for the release of the Newlands Stadium – one of the properties bonded by Dreamworld as security for the loan.
* (Article continues below – watch the video in which @king365ed questions WPPR Chairman Ebrahim Rasool on the property saga and SA Rugby’s involvement)
It is not certain which properties would be handed over to Flyt/Dreamworld in the settlement, but in the current market the only property that could be valued at ZAR112-million (the loan amount) or more is Newlands.
WPRFU would likely have to give away a combination of properties – such as Brookside and Oranjezicht.
Marais has not responded to requests for comment on the report that WPRFU is willing to part with some of its properties in order to save the stadium.
Zane De Decker, Director of the Flyt Property group, also declined to comment “due to the legal nature of the matters”.
Apart from the Moerat and Flyt/Dreamworld court cases, there is also the pending legal action by Ashley Francis, a trustee of the Safricang Group, who is demanding commission of more than ZAR2-million from WPRFU – for introducing the union and the Flyt group.
Marais stubbornly denied that they owed Francis the money.
“WPRFU will certainly be defending the claim and the necessary notices will be filed shortly,” Marais told @rugby365com, when Francis’ legal proceeding first came to light back in April.
Somewhere in the background, there is also the almost forgotten Aerios saga.
Back in June 2020 court papers were filed against both SA Rugby and WPRFU.
Aerios (Pty) Ltd, the agency which managed the advertising rights of the WPRFU since 2012, filed damages claims amounting to ZAR183-million.
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