Push-back for former Bok skipper's heritage drive, as Newlands decay escalates
UPDATE: Former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen’s virtuous crusade to turn the Newlands Stadium into a Heritage Site has received some serious pushback from the very communities he hoped would support him.
Claassen, who put the sale of Newlands on hold with his heritage mission, recently launched a very public campaign for support in the Western Cape.
This follows after Claassen, captain of the Springbok team on the polemical 1981 tour of New Zealand, filed papers in June to have Newlands declared a ‘heritage site’.
As @rugby365com reported earlier this year, the attempt and process by the South African Rugby Union to sell Newlands to the highest bidder in a ‘sealed bid’ have been put on hold.
It was the result of Claassen’s heritage crusade – which started in June, when his ‘consortium’, Save Newlands Rugby Stadium, applied to the Western Cape government to declare Newlands a ‘heritage site’ in order to ensure the historical stadium doesn’t get demolished.
Claassen and his Save Newlands Rugby Stadium clan had an online meeting with the Heritage Western Cape committee on August 5.
Representatives from SARU, who is opposing the heritage bid, have also met with the committee.
The former Bok skipper, Claassen, revealed that there was a ‘site inspection’ with Heritage Western Cape Monday, October 17.
“We had a follow-up zoom meeting with HWC and all parties concerned on Friday, November 4,” Claassen said.
“At the meeting, the HWC granted the 60-day period for Public Participation.
“It is now crucial that we get as much public support as possible.
“We, therefore, appeal to you all to please participate and show your support.”
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However, that ‘support’ was not as forthcoming as Claassen had hoped for.
In fact members of the community pushed back very hard and reminded Claassen of a part of the Newlands history he would rather not like to be out in public.
Mogamat Stuurman, a man very active in the Western Province club communities, wrote a scalding letter to Claassen.
In his letter, Stuurman suggested Claassen do some ‘research’ to find out how Newlands was used to “undermine people of colour” in the Western Cape.
“WPRFU is owned by the clubs in the Western Cape,” he said in his letter, adding: “Who or what God gave you the right to lay claim to the stadium and promote it as if you are the owners?
“Now can I please request that you remove my email from your mailing list and get your life in order?
“Go play with your grand children and let them get in line like we all need to get in line to be recognised by those in charge.
“NEWLANDS IS NO HERITAGE SITE, IT’S A PLACE WHERE COLOURED PEOPLE WERE TREATED LIKE THE SCUM OF THE EARTH, AND I SUPPORT IT BEING DEVELOPED OR DEMOLISHED.”
* Read Mogamat Stuurman’s letter to Claassen in full below!
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Opposition to Claassen’s crusade also comes in the form of Rian Oberholzer, appointed by SARU as the administrator to regularise the affairs of the Western Province Rugby Football Union – when the organisation was placed under administration in October last year
It was announced in February this year that Newlands was to be placed on the market in a sealed bidding process.
Oberholzer has retained an external consultancy to ensure the process is transparent and judged entirely on commercial merits.
However, with Claassen’s crusade having delayed that process till, at least, next year, a frustrated Oberholzer pointed to the growing cost of a declining stadium – which Claassen has already renamed the NEWLANDS INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM AND ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE.
“Who is going to pay for the maintenance,” Oberholzer told @rugby365com.
“Those answers are not forthcoming,” he added, pointing out the well-documented fact that all the WPRFU properties are currently bonded to the Flyt/Dreamworld group as part of a loan agreement.
The Flyt group is demanding repayment of at least ZAR200-million, which does not include the growing maintenance costs of a now derelict stadium.
“WPRFU does not have the money to pay for the maintenance,” Oberholzer said of the union that has been under administration for a year now.
It raises some serious questions about the backers behind the Claassen crusade and their motives.
Mogamat Stuurman’s letter
I am not sure how you got my email address and I honestly don’t care either.
1) Your notice is send out in English and Afrikaans Only – Yet the Majority of the Citizens of South Africa is either speaking Xhosa or Zulu, or the other African Languages.
2) Your claim that Newlands should be declared a Heritage sites is preposterous given the fact that this Stadium was used by the white people only for matches where our coloured communities were denied entry for most of its existence.
3) Newlands Stadium was used as a stadium where segregation of Ethnic groups and was supreme to those white in colour.
4) The Stadium itself was divided into sections where those less fortunate was made to stand without seating being available and made to sit on concrete while the white man could sit on plastic seats, they were even given cushions to sit on.
5) Sport in particular Rugby was played by those white in colour only at Newlands for 90 percent of its existence and you want to claim it as a Historical site? I see it as a pain of my past and life I had to endure while growing up as a young man in the Apartheid Era. Getting paid with a Pie and a Cooldrink for a afternoons work while you enjoyed the green grass of Newlands.
6) So please get a life and move on – Your claim that Newlands Stadium should be declared a heritage site is a Joke and you a Joke as well to have lodged a claim like this when you know full well how people of colour were side lined marginalised from enjoying what Newlands had to offer.
7) Just for your information – this is not thumb sucked information, if Newlands kept record of it’s employees, then you will get to know that I had to apply every single Saturday for Casual work at Newlands as a Std 7 Year Old Boy, selling Programmes to sustain myself with pocket money, worked on the gates on a Saturday, I was the parking attendant at the gate that led into the B-Field, Parking attendant under the North Stand (Jan Picard Stand), saw how the North Stand and South Stand was developed into the now Danie Craven Stand and Jan Pickard Stands, The Railway Stand with the Train Carriages Developed, Saw the Parking Area in front of the Stadium Be Developed into the Now Modern Parking Stand and then Sold to B Field was turned into the Sports Science Centre Turned into a Gym facility that was open to White Athletes Only. Low and Behold I even Kept Score on the South Stand / Danie Craven Stand.
8) Find out Who Allen Newkirk is and then get to know the real history of Newlands and how is was used to undermine people of colour.
9) Damn the Houses Opposite the Stadium was reserved for White Officials and Picard Families only.
10) WPRFU has a guy by the name of Jeffery working as an administrator at Newlands, 30 years on he is still an administrator, Who or What have you developed?
11) WPRFU Is owned by the Rugby Clubs in the Western Cape, who or what God Gave you the right to lay claim to the stadium and promote it as if you the owners?
Now can I please request that you remove my email from your mailing list and get your life in order. Go play with your grant children and let them get in line like we all need to get in line to be recognised by those in charge.
NEWLANDS IS NO HERITAGE SITE, IT’S A PLACE WHERE COLOURED PEOPLE WAS TREATED LIKE THE SCUM OF THE EARTH, AND I SUPPORT IT BEING DEVELOPED OR DEMOLISHED.
Also worth reading
Heritage site or derelict white elephant?
Newlands sale ‘on hold’
Left field player in Newlands saga
Newlands under the hammer
Flyt watches from the sidelines