Clubs rounding up on Zelt ... again
NEWLANDS UPDATE: They may have failed with their ‘vote of no confidence’ earlier this year, but the Cape Town clubs are once again rounding up on controversial Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais.
In a week of high drama, the polemical and virulent WPRFU official earned himself the ire of a number of clubs, who have now filed a formal complaint against Marais.
@rugby365com can reveal that several clubs have filed letters of complaint about Marais’ public outburst against the South Africa Rugby Union.
Marais, in his letter on Wednesday (December 8), 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.
It appears the clubs took him at his word.
However, instead of going after SARU, a number of the clubs turned on Marais.
In their letters, the clubs asked that Marais be investigated and the matter be referred to the WPRFU disciplinary committee.
They took exception that Marais, while being suspended after SARU placed WPRFU in administration, went public with his attack on SARU.
The letters have been forwarded to the union’s complaints review officer and he will forward it to the disciplinary committee with his recommendation.
They described Marais’ latest ‘outburst’ as an “embarrassment” and suggested he was causing more harm than anything else.
The clubs are now using the same disciplinary process that Marais used to such great effect against his detractors and the opposing voices in the union.
In September Marais avoided a ‘vote of no confidence‘ from the clubs with a gladiatorial stance at a meeting he chaired – even though delegates argued he should not chair a meeting in which he is accused of wrongdoing.
According to information provided to @rugby365, the vote could not take place as there was fighting over technicalities and letters from clubs were not even tabled.
It was revealed that Marais refused to leave the virtual gathering and requested clubs to show minutes of the meetings where they agreed to have a vote of no confidence in him.
Marais also threatened to put clubs under administration.
That threat has come back to haunt him.
And, unlike the vote of no-confidence, which required at least 10 clubs, the DC process only requires one club to write the letter of complaint.
However, several clubs have already filed letters.
It followed the SARU briefing with the clubs on Wednesday, December 8, which was preceded by Marais’ very public letter.
The clubs were very impressed by the SARU presentation.
The most eye-opening revelation during SARU CEO Jurie 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.
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