WPRFU: Is there a 'third force' at play?
Two of the Western Province Rugby Football Union’s most prominent officials have joined forces to launch a scathing attack on the media.
WPRFU President Zelt Marais and vice-president-elect Ronald Bantom both blamed ‘outside forces’ and ‘third parties’ for the media leaks that make it seem there is internal fighting.
Bantom, who was said have been at odds with Marais in recent weeks, is the only nomination for the position of vice-president at the Special General Meeting next Monday, March 8.
Bantom, in a strongly-worded statement on Monday, said the internal affairs of the Union will be dealt with internally’ by the union.
He also took a swipe at the media and suggested ‘outside forces’ are at play.
“Such matters will not be sensationalized through the media and through other agents that are keen to see such negative media coverage of the Union,” Bantom said.
His statement follows just days after Marais sent an ‘open letter’ to the clubs and stakeholders, in which he spoke of ‘persons’ and ‘third parties’ leaking confidential information to the media.
“Over the last couple of weeks, the media have been flooded with news articles pertaining to alleged friction and infighting at Western Province Rugby Union,” Bantom said in his statement.
“Ironic enough, my name and my photos have been widely displayed in these reports without my consent.
“I am, have been and will forever be a loyal and committed rugby supporter in whatever form.
“Any attempts and plans to either tarnish my standing in rugby or my persona, will never succeed.”
He added that he respects the “decision-makers” in the WP structures and will never put self-interest above the interest of the union.
“All the internal affairs of the union will be dealt with by the union as the union has well developed processes and structures that governs its affairs,” he added.
Marais was equally critical of the media and suggested any perceived internal strife was the result of a sinister third force.
“Union has, regrettably, been bedevilled by unknown person or persons, from within its structures unfortunately, leaking confidential information to unauthorised third parties,” Marais said in his letter to the clubs.
“Given the fall-out arising from these leaks, it would appear that there is a careful strategy behind it to undermine the union’s commercial and sporting efforts in general and my presidency, and the mandate which you have given me, in particular.
“The further negative effect of these leaks is that it also negatively impacts our hard-earned reputation here in South Africa and abroad.
“Since these leaks first came to light, we have therefore actively sought to track down the culprits responsible. We are making steady progress in this regard
and we hope that we will soon eradicate this scourge and stop those persons championing their own narrow and selfish self-interest over that of the union.
“Any person or persons deemed/suspected to have transgressed these policies [the union’s code of conduct] will be judged according to the internal procedures of the union,” Marais added.
* See the complete statement of Ronald Bantom and Zelt Marais’ letter below!
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