SARU pulls the plug on WPRFU
The South African Rugby Union has run out of patience with the embattled and almost bankrupt Western Province Rugby Football Union.
More particularly, it is the leadership of the union and President Zelt Marais that is in the firing line.
@rugby365com has obtained a letter, penned by Chief Executive Officer Jurie Roux, which revealed that SARU has withdrawn from and ended the existence of the WPRFU/SARU Advisory Committee.
This is likely the first significant step in SARU placing the WPRFU under administration.
The six-man WPRFU/SA Rugby advisory committee consists of Marais, Patrick Kuhn (chairman), Samuel Ngumeni, Abubakar Saban, Ebrahim Rasool (Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd) and Colin Moses.
In his closing statement, Roux makes it clear SARU will not hesitate to invoke clause 28 of the constitution.
This deals with the financial affairs of unions.
And the blame for the drastic step is laid at the door of embattled WPRFU President, Marais.
Addressing the letter to Marais, as WPRFU President, and Rasool, Chairman of WPPR, Roux does not mince his words.
“SARU hereby informs you, as representatives of the Executive of the WPRFU and the board of its commercial entity, that SARU will with immediate effect terminate the existence of the Joint advisory committee – as provided for in section 1 of the agreed Terms of Reference,” Roux’s letter reads.
Not only has SARU run out of patience with the WPRFU executive, under Marais’ leadership, but they also took aim at the unwillingness of the WPRFU to co-operate with SARU.
“Unfortunately, it has become apparent that the flow and completeness of the information provided to the SARU members were inadequate for them to effectively perform their function while the absence of transparency and of commitment of certain WP members to the process of engaging in seeking a solution had become an insurmountable object,” the letter says.
“Although the leadership of WP agreed to work with SARU in a cooperative manner, the behaviour and actions of its leadership have, in several instances, not demonstrated this.
“SARU’s representatives attempted to participate constructively in the deliberations of the AC, but they have been baulked in their attempt to assist WP in finding solutions for its parlous state and we see no point in continuing in this route.”
The letter also makes reference to “concerns” expressed by Kuhn, the Chairman of the now-disbanded advisory committee, in an email he sent to Marais last week.
In his letter to Marais, Kuhn makes it clear that it is impossible to work in a “dysfunctional” environment where union, company and the executive of the WPRFU are “fighting each other” and their “personal agendas” are driving the union to complete implosion.
He warned last week already that SARU may ‘terminate’ the functioning of the advisory committee.
Kuhn said the decision by WPRFU to agree to sell its share in the Sports Science Institute of SA to NantWorks had scuppered the advisory committee’s attempt to broker a deal with Staytus for the redevelopment of Newlands.
“With the NantWorks transaction now proceeding, it implies that the Staytus deal is no longer an option, because of a portion of the Newlands stadium land (Erf 153664), on which the SSISA building is erected and subject to a notarial lease, will have to be excluded from the proposed Staytus development,” Kuhn said.
Insiders suggested to @rugby365com that the NantWorks deal was pushed through as a deliberate attempt to scupper the Staytus deal, as Marais was strongly opposed to the latter.
That decision – whether it was deliberate or simply a case that the WPRFU executive did not fully understand its obligations – may come back to hurt Marais and his supporters.
Staytus has already threatened to take legal action against Marais for damages, after they had brokered a deal with
As @rugby365com reported earlier, Werksmans, acting on behalf of Staytus Cape (Pty) Ltd, has written to Marais to alert him of potential legal action by their client.
This development came on the eve of the deadline for the Marais-led WPRFU general council to accept an offer from Staytus to settle its debt with Flyt and Dream World and free up all the union’s bonded properties.
The deadline expired on Friday., September 3, without any action from the WPRFU council.
Those properties are currently tied up in a legal dispute with the Flyt/Dream World group.
Staytus Cape (Pty) Ltd – under the guidance of WP Professional Rugby Chairman Ebrahim Rasool – engaged with and reached an agreement with Flyt and Dream World to settle ALL the WPRFU loans, mortgages, claims and the pending litigation in one transaction.
- Meanwhile, Monday, September 20, has been scheduled as the date on which Marais will face a ‘vote of no confidence‘ from the WPRFU clubs.
@rugby365com reached out to Marais for comment on the latest developments.
He did not respond to this website at the time of writing this article and his comments will be reported as soon as available.
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