Cape Town — SA Rugby president Mark Alexander says the organisation haven’t got to the stage of implementing the legal opinions they’ve received on the matter of the CEO, Jurie Roux.
Fronting up to Parliament’s portfolio committee on sport, arts and culture on Tuesday, Alexander addressed the issue of Roux, who last December lost his appeal against an arbitration ruling that ordered him to pay R37 million to his former employer, Stellenbosch University.
Since the arbitration ruling that found that he misappropriated funds from the university and channelled it into the Maties rugby club between 2002 and 2010, SA Rugby have defended the decision not to suspend him.
In answering various questions about the case on Tuesday, Alexander explained why Roux has remained in the top position despite the long-running situation, and why they have not made their reports public.
“Firstly, we are not hiding anything, we are just being cautious,” Alexander said. “We’ve delivered a complete document on the activities of Mr Roux since his appointment with all the legal opinions and supporting documents to the minister’s office, so we are not hiding.
“What we are doing is protecting ourselves against legal principles and legal privilege, because later, things we might have said in these documents could be held against us in a court of law. The process we are busy with right now is not complete. The full document is with the minister (of Sport, Nathi Mthethwa).
“We haven’t got to the stage of implementing the legal opinions… things could change. That’s why we’ve got this legal expert to guide us through this process regarding the opinions we’ve received.
“We are meeting with him tomorrow (Wednesday). If this thing plays out to the media, we could be sued as an organisation. It could be seen as constructive dismissal.
“It’s sub judice, and we’re not throwing this word around loosely. We’re protecting ourselves. I wouldn’t have given the document to the minister if we were hiding something.
“We have kept the minister updated since things unfolded last year; we are not delaying the report. We just don’t want to put it in the public domain. I am not equipped to answer the questions around Mr Roux and the systems at Stellenbosch.”
To the question of when further movement in the case can be expected, Alexander said: “The HR expert will guide us through the procedural implementation on the (legal) opinions. We have given him a month to conclude the work he is doing.
“If you look at the timeline document, there was no time during those eight years that we were allowed to take action because there wasn’t enough evidence against Mr Roux.
“What happened in April changed things, and that’s when we reacted swiftly. If you look at our activities in March up to May, you’d see that there have been activities every week between our lawyers and Mr Roux’s lawyers to get to the point where we are now.”
Alexander emphasised that Roux has had no access to funds at SA Rugby.
“The CFO is the person in the organisation who has access to funds, not the CEO. Those funds are controlled by the finance committee. No stakeholders can withdraw money from Saru.”
The committee chairperson, Beauty Dlulane, concluded the discussion pertaining to Roux by saying that the case “needs to come to an end”, and continued that Saru need to communicate to the department when exactly the allocated month commences so that the time-frame can be monitored.