WP: 'We have not parted with logic'
REACTION: The Western Province Rugby Football Union has reacted to claims that they have ‘parted with logic’ in their financial dealings.
The response, in the form of a statement, comes in the wake of criticism from Raymond van Niekerk – who this week resigned as an independent director of Western Province Professional Rugby Proprietary Limited.
WPPR is the business arm of the union, WPRFU.
Van Niekerk’s departure means that three of the four independent directors of WPPR have now departed – one resigned and two were shown the door.
The boardroom exodus started back in June when Kevin Kiewitz walked away from the union in protest over their handling of negotiations with Investec – a deal which has since been shelved and a loan of more than ZAR50-million paid back.
Last month two independent directors of the board, Johan van der Merwe and Andre van der Veen, were told their services were no longer required. Their terms of office came to an end and at the board AGM it was decided not to renew their contracts.
Van der Merwe was replaced as Chairman of the board of WPPR (Pty) Ltd by political firebrand Ebrahim Rasool.
This week Van Niekerk handed in his resignation because he has had enough of the boardroom politics.
As a parting shot, the former director lobbed some hefty verbal grenades at the union and its members, serving on the board of directors of the company, WPPR.
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Van Niekerk, a former marketing executive of Investec, in media interviews suggested his departure is directly related to the culling of board members and the loss of business acumen in the professional arm of the union.
He was particularly critical of their handling of negotiations with Marco V Masotti’s consortium, MVM Holdings, for a controlling share in WP Rugby, are ongoing.
Masotti, a Durban-born, New York-based lawyer, is asking for a 51 percent share in the company, WPPR.
“If you’re at such a sensitive stage of negotiations for a controlling stake in your company and you get rid of the most valuable person in your midst – in this case Andre [van der Veen] – as well as the Chairman [Van der Merwe], then you’ve abandoned all logic,” Van Niekerk told Netwerk24.
WPRFU, through the office of President Zelt Marais, responded in kind.
“We do not want to become involved in a war of words with Van Niekerk and he is entitled to his opinion,” the statement said.
“We need to state unequivocally though that his claim that we have parted with logic is far-fetched.
“Logic is indeed the reason why we are not rushing into any deal with a potential investor or sponsor.”
The statement reiterated earlier claims that a ‘non-disclosure agreement’ prohibits them from sharing any information regarding the negotiations with MVM Holdings publicly.
“We are, however, still in confidential negotiations with MVM Holdings Shell Company.
“WP Rugby provided MVM with the minimum terms and is awaiting feedback from them.”
Earlier Marais told @rugby365com that they are looking for “exceptional people” to run the business arm of the union.