WPRFU ExCo distance themselves from relentless Zelt
NEWLANDS UPDATE: Suspended Western Province Football Union President Zelt Marais seems to be on a one-man crusade to reclaim control of the union.
Marais, on a day of high drama on Friday, sent out a notice of a meeting to be held on Human Rights Day, March 21.
The agenda of Marais’ meeting includes discussing the SARU decision to place the WPRFU under administration in October last year, a presentation and discussion of the fixed properties and a possible investment in WPPR (Pty) Ltd and crucially to ‘temporarily fill vacancies on the executive committee’ required to restore the ExCo to quorate.
This notice followed a day after the South African Rugby Union announced they will give an update to the WPRFU clubs on March 29.
However, Marais’ letter was met with much disdain from within the WPRFU ranks – most of who have distanced themselves from the polemical official.
All of the executive members contacted by @rugby365com said they “knew nothing” of the meeting, and also had no role in drafting the notice or the agenda – despite being listed by Marais.
Nadeema Khan, one of the few ExCo members who was not suspended by Marais before the SARU decision to place the union under administration, said she was not aware of the notice.
“At no stage was I involved,” she said, when asked if she was part of the process, adding that she has “no further comment”.
Junaid Moerat, one of six ExCo members suspended by Marais in a tumultuous 2021, also distanced himself from the meeting – despite his name still appearing on the list of ExCo members.
“I don’t know anything about it and it was not done in my name,” Moerat said.
Mario Williams, one of the suspended ExCo members who was embroiled in a stand-off with Marais in the Cape High court last year, is also opposed to any recent correspondence distributed by Marais.
“I have not spoken to him since last year September,” Williams said of their much-publicised legal battle.
Williams also issued a collective statement along with other ExCo members – Reuben Riffel, Anele Zita, Quintin Van Rooyen and vice-president Ronald Bantom.
“The ExCo members hereby wish to inform that we distance ourselves from any correspondence and actions by Zelt Marais,” their statement said.
A number of clubs also expressed their opposition to Marais’ actions.
However, they opted to remain anonymous.
The developments on Thursday and Friday are the latest in the verbal stoushing between Marais and SARU.
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Earlier this week Marais said he no longer recognises them as the custodians of the game.
Marais, in a strongly-worded letter to members of the council of WPRFU, also took aim at what he termed the ‘partisan media’.
“WPRFU will no longer recognise the legitimacy of SARU,” Marais said, adding that the union will hold a meeting on Human Rights Day, March 21, to discuss and decide on “the way forward” from the current position that WPRFU finds itself in.
“It will decide on elections and the filling of vacant executive committee positions.
“IT WILL DETERMINE ITS OWN FATE.”
Marais first set the proverbial cat among the pigeons last week when he dismissed the SARU decision to place his province under administration as ‘illegal’ and ‘unlawful’.
In the letter, dated March 2 and sent electronically, Marais made it clear he is still acting in the capacity of WPRFU President.
SARU responded swiftly and a day later said they are “instituting proceedings through the appropriate legal channels” to prevent individuals from making ‘fraudulent claims’.
Notwithstanding the threat of legal action, a new document – a draft contract for the sale of Newlands properties featuring Marais’ signature and dated March 4 – surfaced last weekend.
And then, earlier this week, the threats of legal action against Marais was elevated to the next level.
As @rugby365com revealed, SARU CEO Jurie Roux’s legal team are preparing to file damages claims against Marais as a result of last week’s scathing letter.
This, clearly, has not stopped Marais, who is determined to remain in control of a union and an administration – despite his suspension.
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