CAPE TOWN – Western Province Rugby Union vice-president Gerald Njengele has successfully appealed a four-year ban from all rugby activities for racism, and will resume his duties with immediate effect.
The WP Rugby Union made the announcement on Tuesday, after Njengele decided to challenge the finding and suspension by a disciplinary tribunal in May that he was guilty of racism following an incident at the Cape Town Sevens last December.
Njengele was alleged to have had an altercation with Jessie Claassen, who is the national manager of the Vuka Rugby programme, which is affiliated to SA Rugby in the development of the game.
It is believed that Claassen had refused to shake Njengele’s hand, to which the latter allegedly replied:
“F**k you white people, f**k the coloureds. I’m a clever darkie, I don’t need your f*****g money.”
But on Tuesday, WP Rugby said in a statement that the guilty verdict and four-year suspension was appealed by Njengele.
“Njengele was originally charged in January with uttering racist remarks during the Cape Town Sevens. The matter was referred to an investigative panel consisting of Judge Robert Henney and Advocate Yvette Isaacs.
“Initially the investigative panel decided that on the basis of the complaint, Njengele could have transgressed the WPRFU code of conduct by bringing the game into disrepute.
“Mr Njengele then appeared before a disciplinary tribunal, which found him guilty and suspended him from all rugby activities for four years.
“Njengele appealed the finding of the disciplinary tribunal, and the matter was then referred to an appeals tribunal, which subsequently cleared him of all charges.
“Mr Njengele will resume his WPRFU duties with immediate effect.”
WP Rugby president Thelo Wakefield added that the union were confident that due process was followed.
“We take matters such as this very seriously, which is why it was important that the correct procedure was followed at every stage,” he said.