CAPE TOWN - As far as the Western Province Rugby Football Union's drama goes, is it perhaps time for SA Rugby to intervene?
At the weekend, it was reported that Dreamworld Investments officially filed papers in the Western Cape High Court to recover a loan in excess of R112-million made to the WPRFU.
Dreamworld Investments, an associate company of Flyt Property Investment within the Flyt Group, last year lent the WPRFU R112m to be used towards existing debts owed to Remgro and Investec after the union decided to walk away from the two deals.
Speaking to Rugby365, Flyt Property Investment CEO Zane de Decker confirmed that Dreamworld was proceeding with legal action to recover the loan. The claim is reportedly for the initial loan of R112m, in addition to any accrued interest and damages totalling R30 156 585.
De Decker also confirmed that Flyt may also decide to go the legal route against the union, which would mean that the trouble coming from Dreamworld won't be the only headache for WPRFU, stating: “Flyt is also considering its position and is likely to take legal action to recover the damages suffered as a result of WPRFU's repudiation. With the repudiation, the union should have already paid the money back, but has not. The deadlines for payment have in fact passed.”
The financial threat comes after WPRFU president Zelt Marais was accused of misusing his office by suspended executive committee member, Junaid Moerat in an open letter to stakeholders. Moerat, a member of both the board and exco, appeared set to be appointed interim CEO of Western Province Professional Rugby, but the position has since gone to Ruben Machelm, who served as personal assistant to Marais.
All of this merely scrapes the surface of the never-ending drama that has surrounded the embattled union in recent years. Marais, who was last month reprimanded by the union's top brass over comments he made during an interview where he discussed allegations of "fake news" reporting, the ongoing saga with Flyt, the failed negotiations with MVM Holdings, among others has, as president, been at the centre many of these issues.
While the young Stormers team can be pleased with their Preparation Series performance against the Bulls at Loftus on Friday, despite logging a loss, one has to wonder for how long their on-field performance will be able to at least remain at a remotely acceptable level with everything going on (not so) behind the scenes.
A couple of weeks ago, Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reported that SA Rugby had warned the WPRFU that it could be forced to intervene if there's no improvement at the union. And given the way in which things have continued in the Cape, it may just be time that Saru's notice is acted on ... in part, at least.