WPRFU v Moerat: Junaid wins first round in High Court
BREAKING NEWS: Junaid Moerat has won the first round in his protracted battle with Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais.
Moerat and his lawyers were successful in getting an interdict against the Marais-led WPRFU, after filing an urgent application in the High Court of South Africa: Western Cape Division.
Moerat, a former candidate for the CEO position of the union’s professional arm (WP Professional Rugby Pty Ltd), was suspended in February this year.
His disciplinary hearing, postponed several times, was scheduled to proceed on Thursday.
However, Moerat’s lawyers had challenged the legitimacy of the disciplinary process and after a breakdown in communication between the two parties turned to the high court to prevent the hearing from going ahead.
Judge Andre le Grange ruled in favour of Moerat – who was represented by Shaheid Schreuder and advocate Ross Randal.
Randal Titus represented Marais and the WPRFU.
The Judge, Le Grange, in his ruling said: “… the responded is interdicted from taking any further steps/prosecuting the disciplinary proceedings instituted against the applicant by the respondents on 17 February 2021.”
The hearing of the case – whether the process is legitimate or not – has been placed on the ‘semi-urgent’ roll for Thursday, August 26 this year.
It is a massive blow for the cash-strapped WPRFU – who has already spent more than ZAR3-million in legal fees in two years – ZAR940,051 in 2019 and ZAR2,195,340 in 2020.
The fees for the last six months – which include the much-publicised Flyt/Dreamworld stand-off – are likely to add a substantial amount to those figures.
Marais, in response to a @rugby365com request for reaction, expressed his disappointment in the turn of events.
“As a Union, we [WPRFU] are of course disappointed by the developments of today [Thursday],” Marais told this website.
“We are disappointed because Mr Moerat’s court application to stay the disciplinary proceedings against him and to indeed challenge the very validity of the union’s disciplinary processes now simply delays those proceedings yet again.
“Whilst we have sought to finalise Mr Moerat’s disciplinary proceedings internally at the earliest opportunity, we are now instead dragged to court in order to deal with Mr Moerat’s application.
“We have every confidence that, once the matter is fully ventilated, the court will vindicate our internal disciplinary processes and that we will be able to, in due course, finalise the disciplinary proceedings against Mr Moerat.”
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