Stability descends on Newlands boardroom
UPDATE: It appears ‘stability’ is finally descending on the Newlands boardroom, after nearly two years of chaotic and destructive infighting.
Junaid Moerat revealed that he has ended his long-standing legal battle with the Western Province Rugby Football Union.
“Following the decision by SA Rugby to place the WPRFU under administration, I have decided that it is in the best interest of rugby, to withdraw my court application,” Moerat said in a statement.
In October SA Rugby advised WPRFU that it was invoking its constitutional power to take administrative control of the Union.
Experienced former SA Rugby CEO Rian Oberholzer was appointed as an administrator and assumed oversight of the union’s affairs.
The Moerat versus WPRFU (read Zelt Marais) saga stems back to February – when was suspended on the day of his appointment as Interim Chief Executive of Western Province Professional Rugby (Pty) Ltd.
That position was subsequently handed to Ruben Machelm, a personal assistant and close confidant of the WPRFU President, Marais.
The disciplinary hearing was postponed several times, but Moerat eventually turned to the courts to get relief from the protracted saga.
In June Moerat and his lawyers were successful in getting an interdict against the Marais-led WPRFU, in the High Court of South Africa: Western Cape Division.
Moerat’s lawyers had challenged the legitimacy of the disciplinary process and after a breakdown in communication between the two parties turned to the high court to prevent the hearing from going ahead.
The case was scheduled for this month, but Moerat – one of the most prominent members of the WPRFU executive – decided to close that chapter of the drama.
“My decision to approach the courts was done on principle, to protect the integrity of WPRFU and to prevent processes from being abused that was placing the organisation at risk,” said Moerat.
“Unfortunately these actions continued, which led to the incapacitation of the executive committee of the union and the board of WPPR, followed by combined resignations of independent board members.
“This ultimately led to the decision by SA Rugby to place WPRFU under administration.”
He said his court application focused primarily on the process adopted by the WPRFU in instituting the disciplinary proceedings and his suspension and not the merits of the “unfounded and vexatious” allegations and charges brought against him.
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“I continue to maintain that the charges were malicious and adopted specifically with the aim of preventing me from taking up the position as interim CEO of the company.”
He added that the allegations and his suspension impacted negatively on his reputation – both in his personal and professional life.
“I am positive that those in charge of WPRFU [read Oberholzer] will recognise the fact that I have pursued the matter on principle for the greater good of WPRFU and the onus now lies on SA Rugby and the administrator of the WPRFU to ensure that something like this can and will never happen again.
“My focus moving forward is to prove my innocence and clear my name.”
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