Zelt: 'WPRFU will no longer recognise the legitimacy of SARU'
NEWLANDS LATEST: Suspended Western Province Football Union President Zelt Marais has fired back at the South African Rugby Union, saying he no longer recognises them as the custodians of the game.
Marais on Wednesday, in a strongly-worded letter to members of the council of WPRFU, also took aim at what he termed the ‘partisan media’.
“WPRFU will no longer recognise the legitimacy of SARU,” Marais said, adding that the union will hold a meeting on Human Rights Day, March 21, to discuss and decide on “the way forward” from the current position that WPRFU finds itself in.
“It will decide on elections and the filling of vacant executive committee positions.
“IT WILL DETERMINE ITS OWN FATE.”
Marais first set the proverbial cat among the pigeons last week when he dismissed the SARU decision to place his province under administration as ‘illegal’ and ‘unlawful’.
In the letter, dated March 2 and sent electronically, Marais made it clear he is still acting in the capacity of WPRFU President.
SARU responded swiftly and a day later said they are “instituting proceedings through the appropriate legal channels” to prevent individuals from making ‘fraudulent claims’.
Notwithstanding the threat of legal action, a new document – a draft contract for the sale of Newlands properties featuring Marais’ signature and dated March 4 – surfaced over the weekend.
And then, earlier this week, the threats of legal action against Marais was elevated to the next level.
As @rugby365com revealed, SARU CEO Jurie Roux’s legal team are preparing to file damages claims against Marais as a result of last week’s scathing letter.
This, clearly, has not stopped Marais, who is determined to remain in control of a union and an administration – despite his suspension.
“Regrettably my last letter, together with my first letter has been construed by the media in a manner that is meant to buttress the powers that wish to control rugby in this country in order to serve their own personal interests,” Marais said.
“Firstly, the media and Jurie Roux have conveniently forgotten the finding against him by an institution of law that he has misappropriated the funds of the University of Stellenbosch, whilst he was employed thereat in a position of trust and a custodian of said funds.
“Secondly, SARU has forgotten its undertaking to respond to the South African public in relation to that finding by no later than January 2022.
“Needless to say, January 2022 has come and gone and no word regarding that finding has come forth.
“And why? Because no utterance can come forth other than Roux is relieved of his duties? And why should that be?
“Because it is unthinkable in the light of the judgement against him that he should be custodial of the affairs of SARU and rugby in this country.
“What follows, given the aforesaid failure of SARU to act as aforesaid and without wondering why the deafening silence on Jurie Roux has followed, is to conclude that SARU is not capable of being the custodian of Rugby in this country and at present the purported custodian of the affairs of the WPRFU. ”
Marais is not sparing the media his wrath and acknowledges the existence of a draft contract for the sale of Newlands properties featuring Marais’ signature and dated March 4 – as first reported by @rugby365com earlier this week.
“It has failed dismally in addressing key issues, together with its friends in the media, most notably why Jurie Roux is still at the helm of rugby and calling the shots, particularly on such issues as the knotty aspect of the ‘administration’ of WPRFU and what is his role in the prospective sale of Newlands.
“It is unthinkable, and clearly beyond the comprehension of the partisan media, how Newlands should be put up for auction rather than be sold according to the terms of the proposed deal that has been leaked to the media.
“In terms of that deal, a fact conveniently ignored by our dear scribes, the property is sold at a figure that can never be achieved through an auction, and that price will cure all the financial ills of WPRFU that it presently faces, but most important of all, and a fact again conveniently ignored by the partisan press, the sale will generate ZAR50-million for the upliftment of the struggling member clubs as a result of the worst lockdown this century.”
Marais, playing on the emotion of clubs, touched on rumours that some ‘historically disadvantaged’ clubs will be stripped of their present voting power.
Marais suggested this will “reduce them to the status of associate membership, effectively removing the voting power from their hands”.
“The bottom line is that those who still clung to that past will not see the sale of Newlands administered by the present regime at WPRFU, unless they can control that regime, and won’t allow the mostly historically disadvantaged clubs to benefit from that sale,” the suspended official said.
He continues to highlight the finding against the SARU CEO, Roux, who in December lost his appeal and is now responsible for personally paying back more than ZAR37-million to the University of Stellenbosch.
He said the ‘appeal tribunal’ made “adverse” findings against Roux and found him guilty of “sophism”.
“The dictionary meaning of sophism is: a clever but false argument, especially one used deliberately to deceive.”
Marais also asked a number of pointed questions:
1. Why is SARU scuttling every good deal to sell Newlands Stadium and its precincts and embarking on a foolhardy course of selling it by way of auction?
2. Why will SARU not take action against Jurie Roux?
3. How can SARU see it’s way to continue employing Jurie Roux under the present circumstances?
4. Why is Jurie Roux and SARU, it appears, in denial of the Appeal Tribunal’s findings that he misappropriated the funds of the University of Stellenbosch?
“The answer must be self-evident,” Marais said, adding: “It is for the sake of individual and selfish purposes.
“Corruption is a buzzword in South Africa. It appears only to be reserved for a certain class of persons.
“When there is self-evident corruption in the face of the partisan media they ignore it. Long have individuals been painted and tainted by the media as being corrupt with no Court having pronounced thereon. When a legitimate legal tribunal makes a finding, against which there is no appeal, that an individual
misappropriated a huge sum of money, at his own whim and for his own endeavours, there is silence. Why? Because of classism and bias.”
Marais insists he is the ‘legitimate’ President of the union.
“I have been duly elected as the President of WPRFU.
“I WILL NOT HAVE THAT POSITION UNDERMINED BY A FEW DISHONEST INDIVIDUALS AND A MEDIA THAT SUPPORTS THEM.”
He then concludes by announcing the meeting on Human Rights Day, March 21 and has one final parting shot: “WPRFU awaits any threatened legal process.”
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