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More questions after reports of another WPRFU deal gone south

SPOTLIGHT: Is the Western Province Rugby Football Union about to walk away from yet another deal with a company that provided them with a ‘loan’ to pay off debts?


The Afrikaans website Netwerk24 reported on Saturday that WPRFU’s much-touted marriage with the Flyt Property Group could be on the rocks.

According to the report the WPRFU would “reconsider its options” if information about ‘terms and conditions’ agreed to in the deal are not forthcoming.

It is suggested that WPRFU wants a guarantee that Flyt is in compliance with the agreed ‘terms and conditions’.

WPRFU President Zelt Marais was not immediately available for comment and Flyt Managing Director Zane de Decker also did not respond immediately to requests for his reaction.

However, the report suggests that ‘alternative options’ mentioned in previous dispatches by Marais may well be an ‘offer’ from Nehawu Investment Holdings – the commercial arm of the trade union Nehawu.

Handre Basson, a Cape Town property developer, was the person that acted on behalf of NIH in putting together the initial proposal.


Before the offer from the trade union was considered, WPRFU signed the agreement with Flyt and formed two new companies – Newlands DevCo and Brookside DevCo – with Flyt as an equal partner.

The ‘partnership’ with the Flyt Property Group allowed WPRFU to unlock a loan of ZAR112-million from Dream World Investments 401 (Pty) Ltd – a company within the Flyt group.

That loan was used to pay off previous debts owed to Remgro (ZAR58-million) and Investec (ZAR50-million).

Bonds were to be registered on the Newlands Stadium and Brookside properties to secure the loan from Dream World.


@rugby365com has reliably learnt that Ebrahim Rasool, the new Chairman of the board of WP Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd, is working on alternative options.

If Rasool, head of WPPR, the professional arm of the WPRFU, is indeed courting his connections in the trade union Nehawu, it will raise many new questions.

Given Marais’ public statements about “professional and ethical” behaviour – especially in the union’s dealings with American lawyer Marco V Masotti and his consortium MVM Holdings – it would not look good if they are about to walk away from a third benefactor/creditor in 12 months – Remgro, Investec and now Flyt/Dream World.

There are rumours of a reported ZAR2-million ‘finders fee’ that was paid out after the deal with Flyt. If this is the case, what happened to this ‘finders’ fee?

* Meanwhile it was revealed that Vincent Mai, a benefactor of Grey Highschool in Port Elizabeth and a connection of Springbok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi, is part of the Masotti consortium.

Kolisi visited Mai back in December 2019.

“Vincent [Mai] is a fellow Grey boy and has invested in 100s of kids in SA through bursaries, majority of the time without ever meeting them,” Kolisi said in an Instagram post.

“I was one of those kids.

“Without the opportunity, there is no way I’d be where I am today.”

Netwerk24 reports that six expat South Africans are now in the Masotti stable.

Apart from Mai, the Masotti consortium includes Gary Cobbledick, Jan A. Pieterse, David Berman and Trevor Norwitz.

Masotti, Mai and Berman are all based in New York, while Pieterse is in Los Angeles.

Michael Yormark, the Chief Executive of Roc Nation, the agency managing Kolisi, is also part of the MVM consortium.

Masotti is negotiating with WPRFU for a controlling share (51 percent) of the commercial arm, WPPR.

Another big name in the camp is Mike Tomon, Chief Operating Officer of the company Legends, which has among its clients global brands like Manchester City and New York Yankees.

Other big names include Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks basketball team), Doug Cifu (Florida Panthers hockey) and Steven Price (Atlanta Hawks basketball).

Source: Netwerk24, with additional reporting by @rugby365com

Also worth reading …

Nothing ‘clandestine’ about Masotti meetings
WPRFU wants ‘market-related returns’
WP boardroom campaign of misinformation
‘The Titanic has hit an iceberg’
The ‘smarts and savvy’ that WPRFU needs?

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