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Zelt takes aim at SARU

REACTION: Ousted Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) president Zelt Marais has lashed out at the South African Rugby Union (SARU) in a letter.


In October, SARU took administrative control of the troubled WPRFU, but Marais says “that no substantive reasons and grounds existed” for SARU to do so.

Experienced former SA Rugby CEO, Rian Oberholzer, was appointed as the administrator.

Before SARU made that decision, the WPRFU was plagued by infighting amongst its executive committee members due to a number of issues.

“The intervention of SARU by invoking Clause 29.5 was seen by me as a blessing in disguise in order to somehow bring stability to an embattled Executive Committee of the WPRFU. I, however, then and now was of the view that no substantive reasons and grounds existed for so invoking Clause 29.5,” said Marais.

“That is, that there were no legal and/or justifiable grounds for so invoking the said clause. One of the basic reasons for believing so was that prior to the invocation of the said clause a joint advisory sub-committee was set up comprising members of both SARU and WPRFU for the purpose of considering ways and means of getting WPRFU out of the minor financial woes it was facing at the time and also considering the number of deals on the table relating to equity in properties owned by the WPRFU.”

Marais says the “WPRFU has in recent times not enjoyed the full support of SARU in its affairs”.


Marais also says SARU is not equipped to solve the problems that have been plaguing the WPRFU.

He added: “WPRFU has an excellent record in terms of transformation, if not the best, and the feeling has emerged that possibly WPRFU is not enjoying the full support of SARU and its benefactors because of the level of transformation it has achieved. Be that as it may, it turned out that the aforementioned joint advisory committee did not act prudently and timeously as to ensure that the aforesaid deals could be satisfactorily concluded in order to avoid a financially embarrassing scenario for WPRFU.

“This both mystified and angered me as I felt that SARU was not really trying to assist the Union in its trying times.

“By appearing to allow WPRFU to languish in its problems SARU then took a decision to invoke Clause 29.5. Fortuitously, after the invocation of Clause 29.5 SARU was able to come to the financial assistance of the Union and make funds available to address the Union’s short-term financial problems. Clearly SARU should have adopted the stance that it would assist WPRFU with the aforesaid problems prior to placing it under administration, thereby avoiding a scenario that would hurt the Union, as it is presently doing.”


SARU is scheduled to provide an update to clubs in the province in a meeting on Wednesday.

Read Marais’s letter below:

Zelt takes aim at SARU





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