ANC firebrand set for top WP post?
SPOTLIGHT: The culling of two independent directors of the board, Johan van der Merwe and Andre van der Veen, has caused more than just a stir in Western Province circles.
The ‘grapevine’ is abuzz with rumours that political firebrand Ebrahim Rasool is set for a top position in the restructured board of WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd – the professional arm of the Western Province Rugby Football Union.
Rasool, a prominent member of the African National Congress and former Premier of the Western Cape, has previously held several high-profile political positions – including being the South African Ambassador to the United States and a member of the national assembly.
He is earmarked to replace Van der Merwe as Chairman of the board of WPPR – the company that runs professional rugby in the province.
The latest developments – the decision not to renew the terms of Van Der Merwe and Van der Veen, along with the proposal that Rasool takes over the board – will have a massive knock-on effect.
In the wake of the departure of Paul Zacks as WP Rugby CEO back in January, a four-man interim committee was appointed to fulfil the duties of CEO of the company.
This consisted of WPRFU President Zelt Marais, Kevin Kiewitz (who resigned in protest over the handling of the Investec deal) along with the two independent directors, Van der Merwe and Van der Veen.
It leaves Marais in charge of the company and the union.
WPRFU is the 100 percent shareholder of the company, WPPR.
Less than 24 hours after the first ‘rumours’ of the proposal that Rasool be appointed to the board, there were rumblings of discord in the union – especially in the club structures.
More ‘resignations in protest’ are said to be likely.
The name of Raymond van Niekerk has been mentioned in this regard.
There have also been reports of a ‘crisis meeting’ of the sponsors over the weekend, who will plan their next move.
Players are said to be planning a meeting with their trade union, MyPlayers, for next week.
This will also have an impact on the proposed deal with MVM Holdings, an American company fronted by Durban-born lawyer Marco Masotti.
Despite rumours that the US$6-million (just over ZAR100-million) is a ‘loan’, @rugby365com has it on good authority that the terms put forward by MVM Holdings makes it clear it is an investment and that the Yanks want preferential shares in the company.
With unresolved issues such as vacant positions of the Chairman and CEO of the company, along with the purge of independent directors and the contentious property deals, rugby in the Western Cape is set for another stormy season.
Also worth reading …
OPINION: Jan de Koning’s take on the saga
Province sends two officials packing
Province President apologises for ‘misunderstanding’
WPRFU boss responds to ‘takeover bid’
‘Treasonous acts’ within WP Rugby
Full private equity: ‘It is a conversation SA unions must have’