Western Province Rugby Football Union president Zelt Marais has responded to outgoing independent board member Raymond van Niekerk’s comments to the media.
Marais said that he would not be drawn into a war of words with the outgoing member.
WP Rugby president Marais doesn’t want a war of words
Van Niekerk expressed grave concern at the path WP Rugby was on while his resignation has left the board with little independent influence just as they are negotiating a significant investment in the company.
The marketing guru, who is also a City of Cape Town councillor, is disturbed by the departure of chairman of the board Johan van der Merwe and key member Andre van der Veen.
WP Rugby appointed former ambassador to the United States Ebrahim Rasool to the role of chairman last week.
Marais sought to downplay fears that WP Rugby could be captured.
“We want to thank Mr Van Niekerk for the contribution he made during his time as an independent director,” he said.
“Our mission, as mandated by the electorate (our clubs, schools, referees and associate bodies), are to manage WP Rugby wisely and responsibly and to restore the union to good financial standing.
“We do not want to become involved in a war of words with Mr Van Niekerk and he is entitled to his opinion. We need to state unequivocally though that his claim that we have parted with logic is far-fetched. Logic is indeed the reason why we are not rushing into any deal with a potential investor or sponsor.”
Marais said that a WP Rugby’s representatives are not currently in a position to discuss a proposed investment or takeover by American investment firm MVM Holdings, as a result of a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
“We will continue to keep all our shareholders – including our professional players – informed as the negotiations progress,” Marais said.
“We had fruitful meetings with our players, and they have distanced themselves from the media reports about their purported unhappiness over the past few days.
“WP Rugby will not be deterred by negative comments from people who have hidden agendas and ulterior motives and the leadership will continue to try and reach the best agreement for the union.”
Marais added that WP Rugby are actively seeking replacements for van Niekerk and van der Veen.
“Our focus now will be on finding a replacement for Mr Van Niekerk – somebody who has integrity, a love and passion for the game of rugby, who would not walk away when things are not going his way in the boardroom, somebody who is prepared to use well-informed arguments to win his battles in the boardroom and not in the media, and lastly somebody who has the interest of the shareholder at heart and not only that of an investor.”