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Zelt: Why we baulked at Staytus deal

Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais finally broke his silence on the stalled negotiations with Staytus – revealing why he feels it all went pear-shaped.


The WPRFU President spoke of the “disappointment” of comments made about the deals in the media, suggesting the true facts were not being put on the table.

He hinted that the Staytus deal might not be the best fit for the union.

“We want people to act responsibly,” he said about the information put out in the media.

“There have been very irresponsible comments made, that has been damaging the brand of WP Rugby,” adding that certain ‘groups’ are driving agendas.

He accused ‘prospective investors’ of holding a gun to the WPRFU’s head, without actually naming the people.

(Article continues below – watch the full Zelt Marais interview here)

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Marais suggested he got threatening letters from prospective investors who would bypass him if he doesn’t sign on the dotted line.


He added that he should lead with “more authority” and remove the negative people from the system.

Marais said a Staytus official – in conjunction with NEHAWU – courted the WPRFU back in July 2020 already.

“We asked them to show us the money,” he said of the Staytus/NEHAWU deal, adding: “The other people showed us the money, even though we thought it was monopoly money.”

Marais said that after many delays Staytus offered a “loan” of ZAR250-million, suggesting they wanted their 50 percent share “for free” – which is why they baulked at the offer on the table.


He said after several changes to the term sheet and on the advice of their commercial advisors, they declined to move forward.

Marais also revealed that he had issues with Staytus corresponding with the Chairman of the company, WP Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd, Ebrahim Rasool – instead of dealing with himself as President of the union.

“That is where the breakdown comes from,” Marais said, adding: “It is not from me not communicating. I was reaching out all the time.

“The clubs were getting upset because we lost control of our organisation and there was a third party dealing with it and disrespecting the organisation.”


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