Western Province rugby battle to set the record straight after departure of board members

15 October 2020 - 10:46 By Liam Del Carme
Western Province Rugby Football Union Zelt Marais briefed the media.
Western Province Rugby Football Union Zelt Marais briefed the media.
Image: Shaun Roy

Embattled Western Province have sought to set the record straight after the departure of two more board members but even that ended in an unexpected‚ premature parting of ways.

The Zoom call with reporters on which president Zelt Marais and chairman Ebrahim Rasool tried to explain the departures along with other high profile matters that have hit the headlines in recent months ended abruptly with the former in mid-sentence.

He was cut short because the free version of the app was being used for the media briefing.

Some will argue it is perhaps symptomatic of the state of affairs at the province who this week saw two more board members of their professional arm head for the exit.

This time‚ however‚ the departure of Hennie Heymans (DHL) and Suzanne Stevens (Brightrock) will be hard felt as they were sponsors’ representatives on the board.

This follows the departure earlier this year of Kevin Kiewitz‚ Johan van der Merwe‚ Andre van der Veen and Raymond van Niekerk.

The boardroom merry-go-round has partly happened as a result of investor and equity partners deals Western Province have been linked with over the last year.

Rasool addressed the latest deal on the table – the $6m offer for a controlling stake from New York-based MVP Holdings.

While MVP are keen to get a controlling stake‚ Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) are less keen to part with it.

Talks have not happened at the pace some might have expected but Rasool is keen to put the matter to bed. He told journalists Western Province officials want to meet Masotti next month. He wants that to be a decisive meeting.

First though he wants a firm financial proposal on the table and he wants details of the consortium Masotti represents so that WP can perform due diligence.

If that is the case‚ the parties who have been in talks for some time‚ don’t seem to have made much headway.