WPRFU latest: Zelt reclaims his 'property'
BREAKING NEWS: Zelt Marais has gone on the offensive – reclaiming his position as the head of the Western Province Rugby Football Union and dismissing the South African Rugby Union decision to place his province under administration as ‘illegal’ and ‘unlawful’.
In fact, Marais has already convened a ‘general council’ meeting – to take place on or before March 21.
Not only did he dismiss the legality of SARU’s actions, but he launched a scathing attack on the SARU-appointed administrator, Rian Oberholzer, and SARU CEO Jurie Roux.
Marais, despite being suspended according to the SARU constitution, wrote to SARU President Mark Alexander, his deputy Francois Davids, the members (clubs) of the council of WPRFU, the presidents of the 14 provincial unions and the members of the WPRFU executive committee.
He did it on a WP Rugby letterhead – which includes the names of several suspended executive members – including Ronald Bantom (vice-president), Reuben Riffel, Anele Zita, Quintin Van Rooyen, Mario Williams and Junaid Moerat.
The letterhead suggested these people were party to the writing of the letter, although some have confirmed they were NOT consulted.
The entire WPRFU executive was suspended when SARU placed the WPRFU under administration in October last year.
Experienced former SARU CEO, Oberholzer, was appointed as an administrator and assumed oversight of the union’s affairs.
This has not stopped Marais from taking pot-shots at SARU, resulting in a written warning from the national body and formal complaints by the union’s clubs against Marais over his conduct.
Marais also sent the letter from his personal email address, not a WPRFU email.
In his latest attack on the national body, Marais says he is writing “out of grave concern” for the future of the game in the Western Cape.
“I write this communiqué to the clubs that form the WPRFU and to SARU and in regard to certain recent events that have become untenable and especially in regard to the so-called administration of the WPRFU,” Marais says in his letter.
“I am of the view that the so-called administration of the WPRFU has no legal and lawful basis
“For that reason WPRFU will no longer consider itself to be under administration and will forthwith resume its activities as an autonomous and legal entity, being an association, affiliated to SARU.”
He also spoke of what he feels are the “dubious bona fides” of SARU in placing WPRFU under administration and said it was done for the possible benefit of individuals and for “private and personal agendas”.
However, his most ferocious attack was on the SARU CEO, Roux.
He pointed to the problematic situation surrounding Roux, who late last year lost his appeal and is responsible for personally paying back more than ZAR37-million, interest and costs to the University of Stellenbosch.
“A reading of the judgement discloses the behaviour of an individual that cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, oversee the business affairs of an entity like SARU, and effectively hold sway over the affairs of an entity like WPRFU, as he does at present – by having purportedly placed WPRFU under administration,” Marais fired barbs at the SARU boss.
He accused Roux of having appointed his ‘colleague and ally’, Oberholzer, as the administrator of the WPRFU.
“A close scrutiny of the aforementioned judgement reveals an individual who effectively cooked the books of his erstwhile employee in order to divert the funds of the employee for his personal use.
“To add horror to reality, SARU has never addressed the situation of Roux, who still happens to be in the employ of SARU as its CEO.
“Common sense tells us that SARU needs to conduct an audit of its financial affairs, especially those under the control and auspices of Roux. Common sense raises the concerns of how the millions owed to the University of Stellenbosch is going to be repaid, and whether the coffers and connections of SARU will be a vehicle for such repayment.
“Worse still, common sense raises the grave concern of whether Roux will remain in office.”
Marais also fired off a few potshots at SARU, asking why SARU has to date remained absolutely and damagingly silent about Roux.
“Have they hoped, for instance, that events like the war in Ukraine would distract the attention of the general public to these issues and all may be forgotten
in the long run, and it will be business as usual, no matter what range and carnage Roux could possibly be causing within the structure and vaults of SARU?
“The problem is that Roux is presently ostensibly dictating the affairs of WPRFU. And this has become remarkably apparent by the latest events of offering Newlands Stadium for sale by way of [an] auction without even consulting the owner and or affiliated clubs.”
Marais suggested WPRFU is “engaged in negotiations” for the sale of the Newlands precinct for a sum of ZAR550-million, a “dream deal”.
“The would-be purchaser offers a further ZAR50-million for the upliftment of the affiliated clubs of the WPRFU.
“Whilst these negotiations are at a delicate stage, we hear that the administrator has made contact with the representatives of the would-purchasers and a few hours later announces the sale by auction of the Newlands precinct.
“This action effectively scuttles the sale.
“Why would the administrator/SARU do this? A sale by auction will never fully realize its true value, as anybody in the property industry would be aware of, so why scuttle a dream deal and especially one that would benefit the affiliated clubs to the extent as set out hereinabove.
“The answer must lie in what I stated in my previous letter, and that is that the administration of Newlands has been effected to benefit certain private vested interests. This is untenable and WPRFU will not abide by such behaviour.
“SARU needs to get its house in order so that it can again command the respect and trust of its members. It certainly cannot dictate the affairs of such an illustrious entity like the WPRFU, whilst it can hardly do the most basic and routine of acts that amount to the good governance of its own affairs.”
Marais concluded by saying: “A general council meeting or a council meeting will be convened on or before March 21, and it will be held at Newlands, as is normally the case, so that WPRFU can decide on and vote, if necessary, on the future course of action of the Union.”
* Below are the two most recent letters written by Zelt Marais, in full!
Also worth reading
Clubs ‘question’ SARU administrator’s salary
SARU CEO ordered to pay back ZAR37-million
Newlands: Flyt watches from the sidelines
Newlands under the hammer … finally
Clubs gunning for SARU administrator
Zelt ally threatens SARU
Police investigating ‘fraud’ in Newlands saga
WPRFU: The rise and fall of a ‘war room’
McKeever bomb drops on WPRFU
WPRFU & Stade: McKeever was only a ‘facilitator’
WPRFU & Stade: Another McKeever misfire
The previous letter …