Storm spoils Zim Springbok’s debut

2008-06-06 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — The Springbok team are focusing on today’s Test against Wales, and won’t let a storm around former Zimbabwean Brian Mujati distract them, says SA Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins.

A letter alleging that Mujati’s father, Joseph, forced a Zimbabwean farmer off his land in 2003 surfaced during the week.

Hoskins said the report is just a rumour, but “we are giving it attention. I have not yet had a chance to talk to Brian.”

The evicted farmer, Tienie Martin, was himself picked to tour France with the Springboks in 1968, but had to withdraw with an injury.

A person close to Martin said Mujati senior contacted Martin on Thursday and warned him to leave the country after “what he did to his son”. Mujati senior could not be contacted yesterday.

Hannes Wessels, a longtime friend of Martin’s who immigrated to South Africa three years ago, said he and Martin’s daughter Shelly started circulating the letter last month.

The letter relates how Mujati snr, said to be a big Zanu-PF supporter, arrived at Martin’s “Tiny” farm in the Inyazura district with a number of youths on December 8, 2003 with a letter telling Martin he was taking over the farm. Martin and his family began moving out the next morning, but had to leave livestock and equipment behind.

Mujati snr is believed still to be living on the farm, despite two court interdicts against him.

Former Zimbabwean MP Roy Bennett said he knows Martin, and confirmed that the letter is accurate.

Bennett believes Brian Mujati “should either reject or endorse what his father did”.

SA Rugby spokesman Andy Colquhoun said he regards attempts to involve Brian in the alleged sins of his father as despicable.

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