Marais wins on day of high drama
ELECTION NEWS: On a day of high drama Zelt Marais became the new President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union.
Marais beat off the challenge of Peter Jooste in the race to replace Thelo Wakefield – whose term as WPRFU President had come to an end.
Moneeb Levy was named the new Deputy President – a position vacated by Marais’ promotion at the top spot.
But the elections were cast under a pall by a court battle earlier in the day.
Ronald Bantom launched an urgent interdict in the Cape Town high court that could have prevented Monday’s elections – where Bantom was set to contest the Vice-Presidency with Spencer King – from going ahead.
He was not successful and King was elected “unopposed” as Vice-President.
Advocate Derrick Petersen told @rugby365com that while the court did not rule on the merits of the Bantom’s case, it did say it was not an urgent matter and left the door open for Bantom to bring the matter before the court at a later stage – where he could then contest both the disciplinary process and the elections.
Bantom has a choice to go through the disciplinary process, or decide if he wants to return to the courts at a later stage to bring a “review application” of the entire process and nullify the election for the position of Vice-President.
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.’
* Meanwhile the following were elected as additional members of the WPRFU executive: Anele Zita, Quinton van Rooyen, Ruben Riffel, Kevin Kiewitz, Peter Jooste, Nadeema Khan, Junaid Moerat, Mario Williams.
Marais and his new executive now have the unenviable task of leading the professional arm of the WPRFU back from the brink of a second bankruptcy in two years.
By Jan de Koning