Former South African Ambassador and ANC MP Ebrahim Rasool has been appointed as the new chairman of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU).
Ebrahim Rasool appointed as chairman of WPRFU
Rasool was ratified as the new chairman at a WPRFU board meeting on Friday 4 September. Zelt Marais, President of the Union, confirmed the appointment on Saturday.
“He [Rasool] was confirmed as the Chairperson at the meeting yesterday [Friday],” Marais told Rugby365.
Rasool replaces Johan van der Merwe as the chairman of the board. Van der Merwe’s resigned as chairman and as an independent director of the WPRFU last month. Andre van der Veen also quit as an independent director; his post remains vacant at this time.
A prominent figure in Western Cape politics, Rasool held the office of Premier as well as being Ambassador to the United States between 2010 and 2015.
The appointment comes amid rumours of discord at the union which could see more resignations among its executive in the coming days.
WPRFU are trying to work out a proposed deal with MVM Holdings, an American company fronted by Durban-born lawyer Marco Masotti, although the terms of such a deal are unclear with the consortium seeking a controlling share of Western Province and the Stormers.
Another ongoing issue is the future of the iconic home of WP rugby, Newlands, which is set to be sold in a controversial property deal.
WPRFU are said to have engaged and then gone back on a deal with Remgro, before they were dumped in favour of a deal with Investec but that then imploded as well.
There is also the matter of WP Rugby being indebted to the WPRFU to the tune of R70 million.
Rasool’s appointment have sparked fears that WP Rugby could soon be ‘captured’ with wholesale changes to the board predicted.
The fears of a purge did not materialise this week, but there could yet be more changes afoot in the Western Cape.
An uncertain future
The player’s are understood to have approached their union to engage with the board on the subject of a potential investment from abroad but there have been reports that any funds sourced from the Americans might come in the form of a loan.
The proposed sale of Newlands in favour of a move to the Cape Town Stadium also remains up in the air.
Rasool has his work cut out proving that he truly does have the best interests of rugby and Western Province at heart.