JOHANNESBURG – Roger De Sa, a quarter of the four-man consortium that bought Platinum Stars for R22.5-million, has asked for the people of North West to give them a chance following their controversial purchase of Dikwena.
The struggling Phokeng-based club was put up for sale at the start of the season after the owners, the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN), announced that running Stars had become an unsustainable financial burden on their part. Even though RBN had resigned themselves to losing the club, they inserted a clause that the new buyers must remain in the region.
That clause has been at the centre of the controversy that surrounded this purchase which led to corruption charges labelled against the administration led by Stars’ outgoing chairman Cliff Ramoroa. The Hawks announced that the investigation into 35 charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering against the club’s board is at an advanced stage.
Those charges were laid by disgruntled local businessman, Thabo Mokgatle who led a joint venture by the Machipa Legacy Foundation, NPC and Medimo 368 Engineering that wanted to buy Dikwena. But they were beaten to it by Rawat Petroleum, a group of four partners that include De Sa, “two guys from Cape Town and another from Johannesburg”.
“It is difficult for us (buying a club embroiled in this controversy and at the bottom of the log), but I have the advantage that I have been here for three months,” De Sa said. “I do know a little bit about what’s going on. I don’t know everything but I have an idea. As far as the community is concerned, I think that they should give us a chance too. It’s our first day.
We want to work and we want to do the right things. We’ve done it in the past. I have done it in the past and we will continue to do so. I am a football man. First and foremost the aim is to keep the team alive and keep the team here. That’s the No. 1 priority. That’s what we are focusing 99% of our attention on, hence you’re seeing the signings that we have made to strengthen the team.”
De Sa, who is also the club’s coach, was non-comital on the club’s future in the region beyond the end of the season. He only confirmed that the club will stay in Phokeng, keep its name and colours until the end of the season. He constantly used “for now” and “right now” in his talk of nothing changing.
Ramoroa’s days as Dikwena’s chairman might have ended after this sale but he still has to answer the allegations brought against him and the administration he led.
“A case has been opened, I was told,” Ramoroa said. “I haven’t received more information regarding that. I have said it more than once to the media that if there is a case opened at the police, the police will do what they are supposed to be doing. The police will come to me and those it is said have done some things and the police will take charge of that.
There’s not much I can say in terms of that because the matter is sub judice. Let the police do what they are doing. I have said it, my books are open. Royal Bafokeng is a big company which has corporate governance. We are willing to deal with that.”