Desperate Zelt recruits World Cup-winning Bok for his 'war room'
NEWLANDS UPDATE: Under fire Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais has launched a last-ditch, desperate bid to stave off being placed under administration by the South African Rugby Union.
Marais revealed his plan for an ‘urgent strategic intervention’ at the continuation of a council meeting – postponed from September 9 – on Thursday.
The two points on the agenda were (1.) Staytus – the way forward and (2.) Western Province Professional Rugby’s request for funding.
It was at Thursday’s resumption that Marais put his ‘War Room’ plans on the table.
The last-minute introduction – which saw constituents only getting the proposal 30 minutes before the meeting – was approved despite the meeting barely having a quorum.
Of those in attendance 40 voted in favour of Marais’ proposal, 14 voted against and four abstained.
Among the actions in Marais’ master plan is the setting up of a ‘War Room’ environment, that will “operate until all critical short term matters are addressed and resolved satisfactorily” and an effective longer-term strategic framework is in place and moving forward.
This, according to the proposal, has already been initiated.
“The War Room will be set up in the President suite of the Newlands stadium and any member of the [WPRFU] council is free to visit at any time,” Marais’ proposal stated.
They will also establish a ‘strategy committee’ (Stratco) – including key internal and stakeholder members, as well as specialist, professional, external resources.
Marais’ initial specialist team includes 1995 World Cup-winning Springbok Hennie le Roux – listed as an ‘influential rugby sector professional; and successful businessman’.
His ‘Stratco focus’ will be: “Professional rugby sector and structural advisory.”
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Other members of the specialist team include:
* Gary Craul – listed by Marais as a highly experienced strategist and business leader with strong technology, innovation and investment related expertise. Stratco Focus: Intervention lead; strategic advisory; funding; structure and partnerships.
* Guy Harris – listed as a highly respected strategic and financial advisor, investor and business leader. Stratco Focus: Business and transaction structuring; finance and funding advisory.
* Lawrence Helmann – listed as one of SA’s leading commercial legal practitioners; and serves on the executive team of Africa’s leading law firm. Stratco Focus: Key legal and structural input.
* Justin Mancer – listed as a successful entertainment and sports professional; marketing executive and promoter. Stratco Focus: Marketing and communication strategy; partnering initiatives; and public relations (PR).
* Johan van der Colff – listed as an industry leading entertainment, music and technology specialist; business owner and technical production executive. Stratco Focus: Technology; entertainment and media advisory.
The WPRFU representatives are the ‘presidency’; WPPR directors Sabelo Mzanywa and Philip Burns; as well as WPRFU council representatives Basier Dramat, Andre Kermis, Rashied Combrink, Stephen Sharwood, Simphiwe Diebusuku and Dianna Pfaff.
It is worth noting that none of the dissenting voices from within the current WPRFU and WPPR structures are included in Marais’ plan.
Executive members like Ronald Bantom (vice-president), Reuben Riffell, Quentin Van Rooyen and Anele Zita have been excluded.
“All negative dynamics should be avoided and discouraged in support of this objective,” Marais said.
The plan is for ‘small working groups’ to focus on specific issues or aspects – such as short term funding; the property development scenario; potential sponsorship opportunities; a longer term strategic framework; specific future investment partner options; the effective management of all reputational, market and communications related matters.
Marais listed a number of issues and ‘negative dynamics’ that he felt contributed to the union’s current problematical financial situation.
This includes the “ongoing trends” around spectator attendance at stadia; the WPRFU’s well-documented “property situation”; the fact that the WPRFU is the “only major union that has yet to finalise a strategic shareholder model and bring in external equity partners” and funding and the devastating and ongoing “impact of COVID”.
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