REVEALED: Surprise new player in Newlands saga
NEWS: The Newlands Stadium saga took yet another, intriguing, new twist this week.
Not only has the identity of the ‘new’ player in the protracted dispute been revealed, but the Western Province Rugby Football Union is in a scramble to hold a Special General Council Meeting before the end of the month.
The details of the latest developments are all contained in the notice of the proposed SGM – scheduled for Thursday, June 25.
However, it requires the waiving of a clause of a 15-day notice period – as stipulated in the WPRFU constitution – to allow the meeting to take place next week, just 10 days after the notice was filed.
There is an additional date, Tuesday, June 30 – should the waiver not be granted.
The rush to bring the meeting forward is because the WPRFU need to come up with nearly ZAR60-million to pay Remgro Sports Investment by month-end – a loan dating back to 2016, when WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd, the professional arm of the Union was declared bankrupt.
Then there is also an ‘advance’ of ZAR50-million, owed to Investec Properties, that has become payable because the WPRFU has turned their backs on an earlier agreement with Investec to redevelop the Newlands ground.
The debt, owned to Remgro and Investec, will both be settled from a ‘loan’ given by the new player – Any Side Investments (Pty) Ltd.
In order to secure the loan from Any Side, the WPRFU will register a new Mortgage Bond on Newlands.
These details are all contained in the notice sent to the clubs this week – a notice that caused a tidal wave of shock.
Amongst the issues that are causing concern is that the notice to the clubs seems to suggest that certain documents, pertaining to the loan with the new player, may already have been signed by WPRFU President Zelt Marais.
Yet, they want the constituents (members of the executive, trustees of the union, affiliated clubs, various referees, and schools societies, as well as Sunday leagues) to ratify this agreement.
They also want ‘voting’ on the proposals to take place via email before the meeting – by ‘no later than 16.00 on Thursday, June 25’.
The virtual meeting – via Teams or Zoom – is scheduled to take place at 19.00 that Thursday.
It is also required that the constituents give permission for Marais to act on behalf of the WPRFU in his capacity as President and sign any documents necessary to move forward and instruct the trustees to register the Mortgage Bond.
The notice to the club seems to suggest discussions with Any Side may have been ongoing for some time – even before the negotiations with Investec reached a stalemate.
As @rugby365com reported this past weekend, the presence of a new player may well explain why the WPRFU was willing to play hardball in their discourses with banking giant Investec.
Any Side Investments is fronted by Zane De Decker, Managing Director of Flyt Property Investments.
Any Side has been in the news in recent years for the stand-off with Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association over a multistory development of the historic suburb of Cape Town.
De Decker’s company lost that battle, although a smaller development in the Bo-Kaap, by his company, could still go ahead.
As we said at the weekend, there may be a few more twists and turns that would make it hard to follow the plot.