Jurie Roux: Parliament backs SARU
MEDIA STATEMENT: Politicians and the proverbial ‘lynch mob’ is ready to remove Jurie Roux from his position with immediate effect.
However, Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture has backed the South African Rugby Union’s approach to the protracted saga involving the SARU CEO.
A SARU delegation, headed by President Mark Alexander and including Roux, fronted up the Portfolio Committee in a virtual meeting on Wednesday.
That was just a day after SARU advised the media that a review of the outcome of the appeal into the arbitration hearing between Roux and his former employer remains ongoing.
On Wednesday they told parliament that it is headed to the constitutional court.
Roux, in December, lost his appeal and was ordered to personally pay back more than ZAR37-million to the University of Stellenbosch.
Roux was ordered to repay the huge sum of money – which an arbitrator found he had misappropriated from the Stellenbosch University, between 2002 and 2010.
In 2013, after Roux had moved from the University of Stellenbosch (Maties) to take his post with SARU, the audit firm KPMG submitted a preliminary report to the university which found that Roux had manipulated the finance system to channel millions of unbudgeted expenditure into the rugby club.
Politicians in parliament had grilled SARU on the matter on Wednesday, with some demanding Roux’s resignation.
“Although the meeting was not intended to deal with the matter involving Roux, the committee appreciates that the process is still unfolding and that SARU will handle it, as it has already done, with maturity and sincerity,” committee Chairperson Beauty Dlulane said.
“SA Rugby had rightly sought legal advice at various stages of this matter, which involves a previous employer of Roux.
“The committee supports a stance where legal processes are exhausted and that a just verdict is arrived at, with no one suffering any prejudice.”
The SARU President, Alexander, informed the committee that following the arbitration hearing, Roux is taking the matter to the High Court.
Alexander said SARU has briefed senior counsel and is awaiting that opinion.
SARU must also be mindful of the employer/employee relationship, he added.
Dlulane said the committee will schedule a follow-up briefing on outstanding matters and that a report on the “legal fees SARU will have to pay relating to this matter” is also required.
The portfolio committee also heard that SARU predicted a ZAR30-million loss in its 2022 budget if spectators are not allowed back to stadiums.
Dlulane said the committee understands the frustration around this issue.
However, she called on fans to be patient, as regulations ought to be observed at all times.
The committee said in a statement that it was “satisfied” with SARU’s briefing on the impact of COVID-19, plans to save the industry, preparations for the Springbok’s title defence at the World Cup in France next year, transformation, women’s rugby and the development of rugby in rural areas.
“However, some matters still require attention – including liquidity challenges at Western Province, Eastern Province and Border,” the statement said.
Dlulane said the committee is satisfied with the report-back.