WPRFU: The collateral damage in Zelt's war
NEWLANDS SPOTLIGHT: Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais is embroiled in another court case, following the suspension of yet another executive member.
Marais, on the warpath against dissenters, filed a complaint against Mario Williams – resulting in the executive member’s suspension ahead of a series of critical meetings.
@rugby365com can reveal that Williams served papers on Marais on Wednesday, with an urgent hearing scheduled for the Cape High court on Friday.
Williams is charged with allegedly ‘disseminating confidential financial and commercial information’ of the now-disbanded WPRFU/SARU joint advisory committee.
It relates to a document which the national body wanted Marais to distribute to the clubs and other constituents.
The six-man WPRFU/SA Rugby advisory committee consisted of Marais, Patrick Kuhn, Samuel Ngumeni, Abubakar Saban, Ebrahim Rasool and Colin Moses.
It transpired that certain documentation – the minutes of an advisory committee meeting held on August 21 – caused considerable discord in a WPRFU general council meeting on August 26.
Marais, who was tasked with distributing the document, became very defensive and claimed he wanted an ‘amendment’ to the document before passing it on to council members.
However, the document was ‘released’ to constituents through informal channels, a move that riled Marais and caused some heated debate.
As @rugby365com reported Rasool, the Chairman of WP Professional Rugby, is the man who distributed the document Marais wanted to keep away from the August 26 meeting.
Williams was charged with and suspended for redistributing the same information Rasool passed on.
The suspension of Williams – the subject of Friday’s urgent court interdict – has left the balance of power in the hands of the WPRFU President, Marais.
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With Williams and Moerat both suspended, the current executive is split down the middle:
* Executive members in support of Zelt Marais: Moneeb Levy (Deputy President), Piet Jooste and Nadeema Khan.
* Executive members against Marais: Ronald Bantom (vice-president), Reuben Riffell, Quentin Van Rooyen and Anele Zita.
It is worth noting that Marais is holding a casting vote in the case of a deadlock.
Williams, in court documents filed on Wednesday, make it clear he is challenging the authority of Randall Titus, the attorney purportedly to be acting on behalf of the WPRFU.
Williams claims that Titus was never formally appointed, upon which – based on documents before the court – Titus responds that he was duly appointed by the ‘executive head’ [Zelt Marais] of the union – not the executive committee, as Williams claims is required.
In back-and-forth correspondence between the two parties, Titus says he will inform the ‘acting CEO’ of the union.
It is worth noting that Zelt Marais is acting as CEO, but several executive members insisted he should step down as CEO, because he could not fulfil both the position of President and CEO.
In a recent council meeting Marais again referred to himself as ‘acting CEO’ – a position repeatedly questioned by executive and council members.
Marais is facing a ‘vote of no confidence’ from the clubs at a special council this coming Monday, September 20.
A general council meeting, also scheduled for September 20, has been postponed till the following Monday, September 27 – simply because of the number of items on the agenda and the preceding ‘vote of no confidence’.
The prospect of SARU invoking clause 28 of the constitution – placing the WPRFU under administration – remains firmly in place.
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