WPRFU ExCo drops legal bomb on Zelt
BREAKING NEWS: The Western Province Rugby Football Union executive committee dropped a massive legal bomb on the union’s President, Zelt Marais.
@rugby365com can reveal that Marais will face his accusers – five members of his own ExCo – in the Cape High Court on Thursday, September 23.
In documents filed on Tuesday, the five – vice-president Ronald Bantom, Reuben Riffel, Quintin van Rooyen, Mario Williams and Anele Zita – ask the court to remove Marais from office.
In the urgent application, they accuse Marais of making unilateral decisions with contract negotiations, failing or refusing to execute and implement regulations of the WPRFU ExCo and council and withholding information from members of ExCo and the council.
They also accuse him of being ‘in breach of his fiduciary duties’ and that he is ‘delinquent’.
The latest in the ever-escalating stand-off between Marais and members of his ExCo, follows the fractious and acrimonious developments of the last few months.
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This week alone Marais avoided a ‘vote of no confidence‘ from the clubs with a gladiatorial stance at a meeting he chaired – even though delegates argued he should not chair a meeting in which he is accused of wrongdoing.
According to information provided to @rugby365, the vote could not take place as there was fighting over technicalities and letters from clubs were not even tabled.
It was revealed that Marais refused to leave Monday’s gathering and he requested clubs to show minutes of the meetings where they agreed to have a vote of no confidence in him.
Marais also threatened to put clubs under administration.
Over the weekend, Ebrahim Rasool, Chairman of the board of WP Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd, accused Marais of “megalomania” and having centralized all power in his person – as President of WPRFU, board member of WPPR, acting CEO of WPRFU, head of the finance committee and also the leader of a newly-formed War Room.
In another development this past weekend Peter Jooste became the latest member of the executive committee to hand in his resignation.
Jooste, who ran for President against Marais in 2018, handed in his resignation last Friday.
In the reasons for his resignation, Jooste said the ongoing infighting is at the heart of his decision.
Williams last Friday lost a court battle against Marais – when he sought an interdict to set aside his suspension – and has to face a WPRFU disciplinary hearing on Thursday, September 23.
Williams is charged with allegedly ‘disseminating confidential financial and commercial information’ of the now-disbanded WPRFU/SARU joint advisory committee.
The charges against the executive member, that resulted in his suspension – pending next Thursday’s hearing – relates to messages he send on the social media platform WhatsApp in which he criticised Marais.
It is unclear if Williams’ hearing on Thursday will go ahead if the ExCo members win their case against Marais.
Marais has been at the centre of three failed loan agreements – with Remgro, Investec and Flyt/Dream World – with has left the union with growing dept and their properties bonded to the Flyt group.
Marais’ behaviour also caused the South African Rugby Union to step away from and disbanding a joint WPRFU-SARU advisory committee.
The national body threatened the WPRFU with invoking clause 28 of the constitution and placing the union under administration.
It is clear from the court documents that his executive committee feels that Marais has overstepped his bounds.
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