Zelt: '' I was NOT kicked out of parliamentary meeting'
REACTION: It was a day of high drama when members of the South African Rugby Union appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture in parliament on Wednesday.
Zelt Marais, suspended President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union, was asked to leave the virtual meeting, after being spotted by SARU President Mark Alexander making a ‘guest appearance‘.
Alexander took exception to the presence of Marais, who has been a thorn in the flesh of the SARU brains trust – with his confrontational and outspoken behaviour.
“I see we have a member that is suspended by the South African Rugby Union, Zelt Marais,” Alexander said in the middle of his union’s presentation to the Portfolio Committee.
The Portfolio Chairperson, Beauty Dlulane, then promptly asks: “Who gave him the link?
“He must be out of the meeting,” she said, adding: “Why is he doing that? Who gave him the link?”
She asked her assistant to “handle” the situation, again asking why people are attending the meeting if they are not supposed to.
Dlulane then informed Alexander that the link must have been shared from within the SARU offices, as they don’t give out the links to anybody who are not invited to the meeting.
Alexander then confirmed that Marais has left the meeting.
(Continue below …)
The WPRFU was placed under administration by SARU in October last year, resulting in the immediate suspension of Marais and his entire executive.
The SARU boss, Alexander, was later quizzed about the suspension and he said the entire WPRFU executive was suspended for their ‘inability to handle the union’s finances’ in a proper manner.
Alexander mentioned that Marais apparently sought donations using SARU letterheads, which contributed to the acrimony.
Marais, in a typical headstrong manner, denied that he was kicked out of the meeting and said he left “voluntarily”.
He pertinaciously insists that he is still the legitimate President of WPRFU.
“Zelt Marais is the President-elect and is not suspended, as he did not commit any crime at WP Rugby or at any other organization, nor has he even been charged with any crime previously,” Marais told @rugby365com, when asked about being asked to leave the Portfolio Committee’s virtual meeting.
“The President of WPRFU has an impeccable character, a person of integrity and is beyond reproach.”
He reiterated that he left the meeting of his own free will.
“The President of WPRFU was not chucked out of the meeting, but voluntarily left the meeting when the honourable Chair asked who invited the President of WPRFU to the meeting.”
Marais added that all parliamentary portfolio committee meetings are “open to the general public and the Media”.
“It is also live-streamed to the general public,” Marais said.
“The President of WPRFU reserves all his rights with regards to this matter.”
Marais has already made it clear, he is NOT going to go away quietly.
Despite several threats of legal action and a formal announcement that he is going to be brought before a disciplinary hearing by the South African Rugby Union, Marais has launched several blistering attacks on the national body.
At the weekend, in a letter to the WPRFU clubs, SARU President Mark Alexander said they will be charging Marais with a code of conduct breach for “bringing the game into disrepute”.
The letter accused Marais of spreading misinformation and “pipe dreams”, based on “unverified financial claims or any kind of due diligence” and compounding by the “illegitimate use of digital letterheads”.
Also worth reading
Zelt at his most brazen best
SARU to charge Zelt with misconduct
Zelt is now even more isolated
Zelt is on the warpath
Net closing in around Zelt
Legal steps after Zelt’s ‘fraudulent’ claims
Police investigating ‘fraud’ in Newlands saga
WPRFU: The rise and fall of a ‘war room’
McKeever bomb drops on WPRFU