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SA Rugby want to impeach suspended WP President Zelt Marais

  • SA Rugby are set to impeach suspended WP president Zelt Marais for discrediting the game.
  • The union was placed under administration in October last year.
  • SA Rugby President Mark Alexander provided the union’s member clubs with an update on the administration on Saturday.

SA Rugby will formally indict suspended Western Province Rugby Union President Zelt Marais for discrediting the game.

The news was confirmed in a letter sent by SA Rugby President Mark Alexander to the union’s member clubs on Saturday Sports24 has seen.

Western Province was placed under administration in October last year, giving SA Rugby full financial and operational control of the union, which had been struggling administratively and financially under the Marais.

Marais, who has been relieved of responsibility, has been accused of deliberately delaying potential stock deals – with MVM Holdings, which later invested in the Sharks, and an unnamed Hong Kong-based firm, while handling the sale and development of Newlands also resulted in lawsuits.

Since October, Marais has been vocal in his disapproval of the SA Rugby takeover and crushed the organisation.

Earlier this week he sent a letter to member clubs advising that SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux is still on the job despite being asked to pay back R37million to Stellenbosch University for money that he had illegally smuggled into Maties Rugby Club.

“SARU is unfit to be the steward of rugby in this country and is currently the alleged steward of WPRFU affairs,” Marais wrote.

Now SA Rugby have reacted and Alexander says it is time to act.

“Unfortunately, the suspended ex-president continues to spread misinformation and pipe dreaming based on unverified financial claims or any sort of due diligence, compounded by the unlawful use of digital letterhead,” Alexander wrote.

“It’s not our way to play in the media and respond to every lunatic allegation anyone wants to make, but on this occasion we believe that Western Province clubs and fans need certain administrative clarifications and updates the union; the lies, deception and misinformation needed to be publicly commented on.”

Alexander then pointed to the work SA Rugby had done in the six months since taking control of WP, while calling Marais’ rhetoric “a bewildering and destabilizing attempt to claim a role from which he was constitutionally suspended and which he cannot exercise”.

More clarity, Alexander added, will come at a meeting with the clubs on March 29.

Full letter from Mark Alexander to WPRFU members:

Dear members of the WPRFU,

When SA Rugby’s Executive Council reluctantly decided last October that we could no longer sit idly by and watch what is so fundamentally a union of our association so thoroughly mismanaged that it was on the brink of financial collapse, we decided that this one the first priority was to take the “noise out of the machine”.

The frequent reports of power struggles between leadership, real estate deals signed and then failed and then stock deals pending and then failed, and new last-minute multimillion-rand deals were disastrous for the Union’s credibility. Our attempt to form a joint steering committee to help the incumbent leadership chart their path back to a sustainable future also failed due to a lack of transparency, misinformation and your leadership’s unwillingness to fully engage.

At the time, SA Rugby was berated privately and publicly for failing to bring their union into administration to rectify an increasingly apparent sinking ship.

When this step was finally taken with failing heart, it was a priority for us to get your union off the news for its administrative failings so that it could regain its place on the news for rugby reasons. In our first meeting with staff, we pointed out that the admin’s primary responsibility is to focus on untangling the various reported deals and focus on reversing the union rather than spending time with the past.

From years of experience, the only way to do this is to get on with the work in peace and limit the exchange of information, because all too inevitably this ends in public and we are back at the beginning. We apologize if you felt inadequately informed; it was a decision made in the interests of the union.

However, we note that your province has been dragged into the news again for “administrative reasons”, ironically by someone who regularly complained about individuals using the media for their own personal gain. Unfortunately, the suspended ex-president continues to spread misinformation and pipe dreams based on unconfirmed financial claims or any sort of due diligence, compounded by the illegitimate use of digital letterhead.

Although the WPRFU and its professional teams are in much better shape now than they were six months ago, your province’s name is once again in disrepute.

It’s not our way to play media and respond to every lunatic allegation anyone might want to make, but on this occasion we believe that Western Province clubs and fans need certain clarifications and updates regarding the administration of The Union; The lies, deception and misinformation had to be publicly commented on.

We will raise all other issues at the March 29, 2022 meeting (to which you were invited on Thursday), but here’s a quick status update on the administration’s progress:

– WPRFU was facing four lawsuits at the time the Administrator was appointed. To date, two have been settled; one is being held in abeyance and one is subject to an expense order that must be completed.

– There were allegedly various agreements, commitments or letters of intent with three companies to sell WPRFU properties. The only recognized agreement was with the bondholders (Flyt) with whom an agreement was reached to proceed with the sealed bid process for Newlands Stadium.

– The SARS liability of R9.4m inherited by the Administrator on appointment has been paid.

– A revised lease for the DHL Stadium is currently being negotiated and is progressing well.

– And contract extensions have been agreed with prospective players and ongoing negotiations are underway to secure high-profile signings from overseas players.

We view these developments as a significant advance in the regulation of Western Province affairs and hope that the need for administration will run its course as soon as possible.

That actually happened, but now let’s turn to what has recently been claimed. And I trust that the fevered allegations and claims of the “illegality” of appointing an administrator have little bearing on your sage advice.

The requirements of the SARU Constitution to invoke Clause 29 have been carefully observed and we have obtained a legal opinion before considering its final application. The clause is quite far-reaching, allowing for the “removal of its elected and/or appointed officers from office and the appointment by SARU of administrators to assume all decision-making powers of the unions at both managerial and operational levels.

Their then-president even agreed at the time that it was “probably a good idea.”

And for a few months the ship has been righting itself again. This process is far from complete, with important decisions to be made and undoubtedly complex negotiations to be completed.

But we don’t need the renewal of the noise in the machine.

We will therefore indict your suspended President, Mr. Zelt Marais, under the SARU Code of Conduct for discrediting the game. His rhetoric is just a confusing and destabilizing attempt to claim a role from which he was constitutionally suspended and unable to perform.

Finally, let me say that I understand your concerns about the future of your union, but please understand that what may seem like silence on the part of the administrator was only to create an environment in which the team and union performance can be returned to the duly elected officers as soon as possible. The future of the Western Province is bright, please bear with us.

Best wishes,

South African Rugby Union President.

SA Rugby want to impeach suspended WP President Zelt Marais

Source link SA Rugby want to impeach suspended WP President Zelt Marais

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