WPRFU: Volcanic fall-out over Zelt's new 'ExCo and road show'
REACTION: The reaction to suspended Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais’ latest actions has been swift and volcanic.
Despite having been served by the South African Rugby Football Union and facing 13 charges, Marais persists with the claim that he is the legitimate WPRFU President.
He even held a ‘council meeting’ at a Newlands hotel at the weekend and said it was “very successful”.
@rugby365com can also reveal that Marais is currently on a ‘road show’ to garner support from the clubs.
Marais – in defiance of the SARU instruction and one of the many charges he is facing – again issued a communiqué on a WPRFU letterhead, addressing the members of the executive committee, council, secretaries of clubs and life members of the union.
He also co-opted several people onto the ‘executive committee’ on an interim basis.
Those ‘new’ executive members are Godfrey Afrika, Andre Gabriels, Nadier Isaacs, James Bezuidenhout, Adonis Cupido and Thomas du Plessis.
He also appointed Josias J. Bailey, Gerald Njengele and Leon Kruger as Trustees of WPRFU.
@rugby365com can reveal that not only has several clubs filed formal complaints with the office of the South African Rugby Union administrator, but some of Marais’ new ‘ExCo’ members have distanced themselves from the weekend’s meeting and Marais’ statement this week.
In what is a carbon copy of when Marais formed his now infamous ‘War Room‘ at Newlands – before SARU placed the union under administration in October last year – people were placed on a committee without their knowledge or consent.
Njengele, who resigned as WPRFU Vice President in 2018, distanced himself from Marais’ latest deportment.
“I didn’t attend the meeting,” Njengele told @rugby365com.
“I was never asked to be part of that structure.
“I phoned Zelt yesterday [Tuesday] and asked him why they put my name on the list and asked him to remove it.”
Njengele said since he resigned in 2018 he has not attended any rugby activity or event.
“I am very happy at home with my family,” he added.
@rugby365com has reached out to Marais to ask for an explanation, but he has not responded by the time we published this article. As always, his comment will be published when it becomes available.
In another dramatic development, several clubs have filed formal complaints against Marais, accusing him of ‘abusing’ WPRFU stationary and co-opting ‘members’ onto his new ExCo that does not belong to clubs and/or are not legally representing any affiliated club of the union.
Eugene Andries, Chairman of Paarl Rangers, was one of the clubs willing to go public with his objection to Marais’ behaviour.
He forwarded a copy of the letter, on a Paarl Rangers letterhead, in which they ask the SARU administrator to intervene urgently.
“Please receive herewith our formal complaint in terms of clause 14.1.4 of the WPRFU constitution alleging a contravention of the Laws of Rugby Football by the suspended president of the union Zelt Marais,” the Paarl Rangers letter states.
“We note with extreme concern the continued correspondence to us and other affiliated clubs on official stationery from the union (an abuse in itself) including purported resolutions by a supposed ‘council meeting’ held recently.
“Worse is the ‘co -option’ of members (that does not even belong to clubs and/or are not legally representing any affiliated club of the union) onto an ‘ExCo’ that is currently under suspension by SA Rugby.
“We as Paarl Rangers R.F.C request an immediate intervention by you as any continued silence by your office will further confuse and irritate bona fide members of the council of the union.
“We hope that this complaint will be treated with the urgency that it deserves in the interest of WP Rugby/SA Rugby and all the rugby-loving people in South Africa.”
@rugby365com is aware of several other letters asking for action to be taken against Marais, to prevent him from continuing to bring the union into disrepute.
However, not all clubs were not willing to go public, fearing retribution. Some confirmed the existence of a letter sent to the administrator’s office, but asked for anonymity.
The schedule for Marais’ roadshow, to garner support from clubs, has also emerged – with a suggestion that Marais is busy with a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy.
The first of the meetings was on Tuesday and the second takes place on Wednesday.
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