Jurie Roux: Don't pop the champagne corks yet
SPOTLIGHT: Those already celebrating the ‘demise’ and ‘departure’ of Jurie Roux should calm down.
Reports of his imminent departure may be egregiously exaggerated.
* ‘Jurie Roux is gone.’
* ‘Jurie Roux and SA Rugby’s ‘separation’ a matter of days.’
Those were the banner headlines in media reports since the weekend.
The Roux haters and the many headline hunters started celebrating immediately.
Few of them bothered to actually read the articles.
Even less bothered to ‘fact check’ the reports.
When articles are quoting ‘anonymous sources’ it is worth hitting the pause button.
For the record, Roux and his lawyer Frikkie Erasmus know nothing of the ‘agreement’ that is being mentioned in the articles – who seem to be quoting the same anonymous sources.
Erasmus dismissed the reports as “pure speculation”.
“There is no agreement between Jurie [Roux] and SARU,” Erasmus told @rugby365com, when asked for a reaction to the reports.
Asked if there are discussions between the two parties – Roux and SARU – the lawyer was again to the point: “There is nothing formal on the table.”
It certainly makes a mockery of the suggestion that it is a ‘matter of days’ before Roux will vacate the CEO’s seat.
These are not the first cluster of fake news articles regarding Roux’s position as South African Rugby Union CEO, related to his long-standing legal battle with his former employer, the University of Stellenbosch.
SARU on several occasions made it clear they are going to “follow the letter of the law”.
Unlike the court of public opinion – where the ‘guilty on all charges‘ verdict has already been handed to Roux – the national body has to go through a painstaking process to avoid future legal challenges.
There is also the matter of a review of the arbitration process – set for 25 January 2023 – in which Roux will look to overturn the ruling that he pays back more than ZAR37-million (and interest) for alleged damages suffered by the University of Stellenbosch.
The arbitrator, in the civil matter, published his award on 23 December 2020. Roux appealed and this appeal was dismissed a year later.
This is now taken on review.
Unlike SARU, who obtained senior legal council to advise them, many in the public domain believe Roux should be removed as CEO just because his reputation has been sullied and SARU’s reputation is being damaged as a result.
However, SARU President Mark Alexander has publicly confirmed that a ‘specialist legal team’ and a sub-committee – consisting of Louis von Zeuner, Sam Ngumeni and Mary-Anne Musekiwa – looked into the Jurie Roux matter.
He added that they are “not delaying” the process.
While the matter has played out very publicly in the media, SARU was required to obtain a detailed and comprehensive legal opinion.
“It requires of us to follow ‘due process’ in consideration and deliberation,” the SARU President told a recent parliamentary sports portfolio committee meeting earlier this year.
“The ExCo [Executive Committee of SARU] cannot ignore these duties.
“SARU cannot be deemed to be above the law and act outside the confines of this legal process.”
He cautioned against “exposing the organization” by playing out the matter in the public domain and the media.
Given that Roux is still intricately involved in a number of financial deals – including sponsorship negotiations and South Africa’s potential move to the Six Nations – the CEO is likely to be an ongoing presence at HQ in Plattekloof, Cape Town, for some time to come.
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