Dark cloud over SA Rugby

Sport24 columnist Graeme Joffe (File)
Sport24 columnist Graeme Joffe (File)
The University of Stellenbosch is currently investigating a trail of major financial irregularities, which one insider said “could bring SA Rugby to its knees”.

Former Stellenbosch Rugby Football club chairperson, Chris de Beer, and a top rugby official are allegedly at the centre of the investigation, involving millions of Rands.

De Beer has already been dismissed by the University after he allegedly transferred funds from student accounts to a personal bank account to draw interest, while deputy director of student finances.

The university released a statement saying: “An on-going forensic audit into non-compliance with internal financial procedures at Stellenbosch University (SU) has brought to light possible further financial irregularities in the use of university funds. The on-going investigation has already led to the dismissal of an employee at the end of 2012 and the investigation possibly implicates others.

The extent of the irregularities will probably only be known once the investigation has been completed. The members of the Audit and Risk Committee of the University Council were informed of the progress of this investigation at a special meeting on June 4, 2013 and they will be kept up to date throughout.”

The university wouldn’t say if the others implicated were or had been involved with Maties rugby but SARU CEO, Jurie Roux confirmed that he was aware of an investigation into missing funds from the rugby coffers at Stellenbosch University.

Stellenbosch rugby club is one of the oldest and most revered rugby clubs in South Africa and there is a strong Maties connection within current SA rugby circles.

Roux was chairperson of the Stellenbosch University Rugby Football Club, chairperson of the Varsity Cup (Pty) Ltd and a senior director of finances and asset management at Stellenbosch University, before being named the new chief executive of SARU.

De Beer took over from Roux as chairperson of Maties rugby.

Former Maties coach, Chean Roux is part of the Springbok team management in the role of performance analyst and Maties conditioning consultant, Warren Adams is the fitness coach for the Bok Under-20 side.

The Maties smoking gun couldn’t have come at a worse time for SA rugby who are still under fire to explain:

• The bonus increases of 107% to members of their executive, despite SARU’s after-tax profit plunging by 87%
• A Springbok Museum in the Waterfront that is costing a reported R45 million
• The disastrous promotion/relegation in Super Rugby

When asked for comment on what the plan is going forward for the Kings, Roux simply said: “The subject has been consistently on rugby’s agenda for a number of years”.

So, in other words, we haven’t thought through the ramifications of the promotion/relegation yet.

Meanwhile, quotas are back in SA rugby after a 10 year absence but in my opinion, they do more harm than good for the players and the sport.

All 14 of the provincial teams will be required to pick a minimum of seven black players in their match-day squads (two must be forwards) for the Vodacom Cup next year.

SARU president, Oregan Hoskins said “there simply was no other alternative to speed up transformation in the sport.”

Really?

A rugby transformation indaba was held last October - what has been tried and done since or was Mr Hoskins too busy doing his MBA and travelling overseas for IRB work?

Are “quotas” not just perhaps right thing to do with SARU elections coming up in March next year?

Even more pertinent is where is the transformation charter authored by professor Willie Basson in 2006 and what are the transformation ratings of each union - then & now?

SA rugby is going backwards and you can’t blame any of the players who want to seek greener pastures overseas with the lure of the dollar.

The exodus will only grow under this administration.

Email Graeme at: graeme@butterbean.co.za

Catch Graeme Joffe on SportsFire every Monday and Thursday at 17:30 on Radio Today, 1485am in JHB, National on DStv audio channel 869 and streaming worldwide on www.1485.org.za. Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboy

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Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.
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