No cash flow crisis at WPRFU & WPPR
Despite two massive court cases and a potentially costly disciplinary hearing looming, the Western Province Rugby Football Union and its professional arm, Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd, deny there is a cash flow crisis at the Cape Town franchise.
Weekend media reports suggested there was a “scramble” to pay the March salaries.
This has been vehemently denied by both WPRFU President Zelt Marais and WPPR Chairman Ebrahim Rasool.
The claims of a cash crunch at the Cape Town franchise came amidst confirmation that SA Rugby is looking into the embattled union’s affairs.
@rugby365com has confirmed that a group of 15 top clubs – spearheaded by Tygerberg – launched the action to request the intervention of the national body.
With two separate actions by the Flyt property group – one from Dream World and another from Flyt itself – already active, there are concerns about the financial status of both the union and company.
Marais replied with a curt: ‘No‘, when asked if there were cash flow issues.
Rasool was more forthcoming and good-tempered in his response.
“I can unequivocally say that player and staff salaries were paid,” the WPPR Chairman told @rugby365com.
Their replies were equally contrasting when asked for reaction to the reports of SA Rugby’s intervention.
It has been confirmed that Tygerberg received 14 supporting letters – mostly Super League A clubs – and this forms the basis of SA Rugby’s intervention.
“There is no substance to this misinformation,” Marais said, when asked about the suggestion that WPRFU’s response to SA Rugby was just a one-page reply without any supplementary documents.
Again, Rasool was able to shed some light on the issue.
“We have indeed worked with WPRFU – the shareholder – on the submission to SARU,” the Chairman told this website.
“The ‘letter’ we sent [to SA Rugby] consists of over 80 pages, and any ‘missing’ documentation is addressed in the letter in which we request more time to give SA Rugby a qualitatively good response.”
One of the key questions raised by the clubs, centres on the constitutional legitimacy of the decision to review and rescind the Ronald Bantom suspension in 2018.
Marais, after becoming WPRFU President, shocked constituents when he insisted the disciplinary process against Bantom is stopped and reversed – despite the fact that Bantom lost his court case against WPRFU, with costs.
The entire affair – which saw Bantom elected vice-president last month – cost the union hundreds of thousands of Rands. Not only did WPRFU, on the insistence of Marais, pay Bantom’s costs, but they also carried their own costs – despite the court ruling that Bantom should pay both his own and the WPRFU costs.
A weekend report suggested this amounted to more than ZAR600,000.
“Everything was and is done via and in line with the governance structures of WP Rugby,” Marais told @rugby365, when asked about the Bantom saga.
Apart from the Flyt/Dreamworld court cases – both of which are set to be costly affairs – the Junaid Moerat disciplinary hearing is also scheduled to finally get underway on Tuesday.
Moerat, a prominent member of the WPRFU executive, was recently suspended – on the day of his intended appointment as Interim Chief Executive of WPPR.
That position has since been handed to Ruben Machelm, a personal assistant and close confidant of the President, Marais.
Moerat stands accused of leaking information about the now-stalled agreement between WPRFU and French giants Stade Français to the media.
His hearing has been postponed twice previously, without explanation.
Also worth reading
WPRFU and Dreamworld court stand-off just got real
WPRFU executive in ‘toxic’ internal war
WPRFU: Is there a ‘third force’ at play?
Flyt bomb drops on Newlands saga
Zelt Marais forced to backtrack
Zelt Marais in his own words
Dramatic twist in Bantom case
McKeever was only a ‘facilitator’
WPRFU & Stade: Another McKeever misfire
Marais, McKeever accused of ‘lies and fabrications’