Moerat acquitted on all Zelt's charges
BREAKING NEWS: Suspended Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais suffered another devastating blow in his long-standing dispute with former executive member Junaid Moerat.
@rugby365com can reveal that a WPRFU disciplinary hearing cleared Moerat on all charges brought against him by Marais – a saga that stretches back to February 2021.
Moerat was suspended as a WPRFU executive member, following accusations by Marais that he was the ‘leak’ that jeopardised the well-documented colloquies between French giants Stade Français Paris and the Cape Town-based union.
Moerat’s suspension happened on the day that he was to be appointed CEO of the professional arm of WPRFU – Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd.
In March last year, WPPR announced that Ruben Machelm had been seconded ‘temporarily’ to assume responsibility for some of the tasks that would fall within the job description of the CEO.
Machelm’s role before that announcement was that of a personal assistant to Marais.
However, he is still ‘acting’ as CEO.
Tony McKeever, the former CEO of the now-defunct Southern Spears, also went public with his desire to become Chief Executive of WPPR.
Moerat’s suspension and protracted disciplinary hearing even took a turn in the Cape High Court – when he challenged the legality of the Marais-driven process.
His actual disciplinary hearing eventually took place on Saturday.
He was acquitted on all three charges brought against him by Marais:
1. That he was the ‘leak’ of the Stade Francais talks – sharing ‘confidential’ info with the media
2. That he was in breach of the union’s code pf conduct rule
3. That he made harmful statements about the President
The dismissal of the charges against Moerat came in the same week that Marais started his own set of disciplinary hearings.
He faces 13 charges by the South African Rugby Union and more brought against him by clubs of the WPRFU.
The outcomes of Marais’ hearings might not be known for a few weeks yet.
It is clear that his association with and willingness to back Mckeever has come back to haunt him
The actual ‘leak’ has not been confirmed, but it would not be a surprise if McKeever’s draft media release, which at the circulating well beyond just the Cape Town media, was the actual leak.
McKeever also stated, publicly, that the Chairman of Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd Ebrahim Rasool and the WPRFU President (Marais) were fully aware of the details of the talks with Stade Français.
In fact, both had statements that were included in his draft media release – originally scheduled to be issued on 22 January 2021.
The Stade Français boss, Lombard, was also quoted in McKeever’s media release.
However, the French club pulled the plug on the talks because they were not impressed with McKeever – as @rugby365com reported at the time.
Given that McKeever – in rather public exchanges with @rugby365com readers – confirmed the existence of the ‘draft media release’, it raised questions about his involvement in the WPRFU structures.
These questions were posed to both the WPRFU President, Marais, and McKeever, in writing.
Neither took up the option to respond formally to this website’s questions – despite McKeever’s rather public jeremiads on @rugby365com‘s readers’ forum.
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