Zelt and Jurie heading for rousing stand-off?
SPOTLIGHT: Are two of the most prominent officials in South African rugby heading for another high-profile public stand-off?
It has certainly been a fascinating couple of days – as the battle lines were drawn between the Western Province Rugby Football Union and South African Rugby Union.
Zelt Marais, the suspended President of the WPRFU, fired the first shots on Wednesday (December 8) – when he accused SARU of having no “legal and/or justifiable grounds” for invoking Clause 29.5 and placing WPRFU under administration.
In his strongly-worded statement, Marais accused SARU of not giving its ‘full support’ to WPRFU and allowing it to ‘languish in its problems’ and deliberately harming the union.
Marais, as has been the case throughout his tenure as President at WPRFU, said his argument is based on “legal advice” and he was firm in his belief that Clause 29.5 should never have been invoked in the first place.
He went as far as to state that the clubs should determine the union’s destiny.
One sentence in particular points to how Marais has won all his battles for the past three years.
“The power of SARU is not greater than the power of the clubs to determine and administer the affairs of the Union,” Marais said.
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux, who on Thursday lost a major battle of his own, used a ‘briefing session’ on the same day (Wednesday, December 8) to provide some of the reasons for the decision to place the WPRFU under administration.
Roux, who on Thursday lost his appeal in an arbitration hearing that went against him and is responsible for personally paying back more than ZAR37-million to the University of Stellenbosch, dropped a number of bombshells.
The most eye-opening revelation during Roux’s presentation to the WPRFU members was when he told them that WPRFU may owe the South African Revenue Services about ZAR9.5-million in PAYE, UIF and SDL.
Other issues to emerge from Roux’s presentation include not finalising audited financial statements in a timely fashion and trading while ‘factually insolvent’.
Roux also questioned the amount of money spent by the union on legal fees, which amounted to more than ZAR3-million in the first six months of 2021.
There are also reports that SARU is going to fire off a legal letter to Marais as a result of his address (letter) to the clubs, executive committee members, the Presidents of the provincial unions and all the members of the WPRFU council, associated bodies and leagues.
Marais sent the letter as President of WPRFU, even though he is suspended.
Insiders and Marais confidants believe the combative official is ready for another legal stoush and has Roux in his crosshairs.
Marais is questioning if Roux has the legal standing to invoke Clause 29.5, given his own statutory situation in the wake of this past Thursday’s ruling against him.
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