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Zelt Marais forced to backtrack

REACTION: Western Province Rugby Football Union President Zelt Marais has been forced to withdraw all his comments regarding the infamous Newlands saga and all other WPRFU negotiations.


Marais recently had a virtual interview with @rugby365com contributor Angus Opperman – a self-proclaimed ‘massive’ fan and freelance reporter.

In the broad-gauged interview, Marais addressed everything from ‘fake news’ in the media, the ‘inconsistent’ performances of the Stormers/WP team, the Remgro/Investec saga, the ongoing fight with Flyt and the move to the Cape Town Stadium.

However, following a meeting between Marais and the Board of Western Province Professional Rugby (WPPR), the President has been advised to withdraw his comments with immediate effect.

WPPR official statement read that they “do not believe that the comments in question were appropriate, nor do serve the interests of WPPR and rugby in the Western Province in any positive way,”


Statement by Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, Chairperson of WPPR, on the
interview conducted by the President of the WPRFU, Mr Zelt Marais

Following a Management Committee meeting with Mr Zelt Marais, President of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU), the Board of Western Province Professional Rugby (WPPR), agree and advise that the comments made by the (WPRFU) President during a recent media interview should be withdrawn entirely, with immediate effect, and an apology issued for any offence they might have caused.

We do not believe that the comments in question were appropriate, nor do serve the interests of WPPR and rugby in the Western Province in any positive way.


In response, Mr Marais expressed remorse and agreed that he should not have said any of the things that he said during that recorded discussion with the journalist. He, therefore, withdrew those remarks in their entirety, without any condition, and apologised for any offence that might have been caused to the people mentioned. Mr Marais also agreed that he will no longer engage the media on the matters under discussion.

In its own understanding of the negotiations of the transactions referred to, and the records thereof, the WPPR Board does not believe there has been any corruption or malfeasance by anybody mentioned, intentionally or not, especially as it relates to financial proposals made to the Clubs of WP.

The Board also refutes any suggestion that Mr Andre van de Veen was not duly appointed or renewed as a member of the Board, or that he was not duly mandated, authorised or requested to engage in the search for an equity partner.

Furthermore, we reiterate that while our impending move from Newlands to Cape Town Stadium may be a bit sad – because of a decades-long history we shall leave behind – it is also an exciting one – for all the growth and expansion possibilities that will come with being based at Cape Town Stadium. It is nevertheless not a move we make with any recriminations or under any duress.


As the WPPR Board, we have all intentions to put measures in place that will minimise, if not entirely eliminate any possibility of a repeat of what recently happened.


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