'Harsh' words for Hoskins and SARU

Oregan Hoskins (Gallo Images)
Oregan Hoskins (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Friday's SARU AGM in Cape Town was characterised by a lot of jibber-jabber and failed attempts by the smaller unions to influence voting and policy surrounding movements of 'no confidence'.

As expected, it was the Special General Council (SGC) meeting beforehand that was most revealing as a new Springbok coach - to be named on April 12 - was ratified. 

But outside of the new coach, largely expected to be Allister Coetzee, were issues surrounding SARU's leadership. 

President Oregan Hoskins had come under fire after media reports suggested that he had lost the confidence of some of the Union presidents.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux, meanwhile, is in the middle of a legal battle with Stellenbosch University over allegations that he manipulated funds to benefit Maties rugby club.

Roux is facing legal action to the tune of R37million, but all of this allegedly happened before his appointment as SARU CEO in 2010. 

There were questions of SARU's leadership that needed answering, and Hoskins confirmed that Friday's SCG meeting - which included 12 Union presidents - had seen him be on the receiving end of some "harsh" words.

"We had a very frank discussion around all of the media issues and it was good," Hoskins said after the AGM.

"It was difficult … it’s not easy for leadership to be told by your stakeholders but we listened and we engaged each other and I think we’ve come out far stronger as a result of today’s meetings.

"A lot of the questions came from the general assembly, which doesn’t meet often, and rightly so a lot of the questions came from there of the Exco and myself.

"There was some straight talking. I had to listen to some harsh words from people and as a leadership you can be arrogant … it doesn’t help."

Hoskins pledged his support to Roux, and spoke of the impact that the Stellenbosch case has had on SARU.

"I’ve always supported the CEO. The issues surrounding Stellenbosch have been difficult," he said.

"But we as leadership … myself and the Exco and the general assembly … have decided that we need to go forward. We need to focus on the challenges facing our organisation – the coach, transformation and winning.

"Credit to him … we’ve been able to work through it despite the tension and all that it causes. We said 'let’s put our job first and put rugby first' and I think after today we can just put it behind us and move on."

Hoskins confirmed that SARU had sought legal advice on how best to deal with the Roux saga.

"It’s such a difficult issue because it’s an issue that happened prior to his present employers," he said.

"Whilst legally we can’t ignore it ... we had to take into account all the advice that we got … it’s not an easy issue.

"It’s not an issue that you can reference in the law reports. It’s not the type of issue that is common. And that’s what made it such a dynamic challenge for us as an organisation.

"We’ve been going back and forth, trying to do the right thing. You’re dealing with the most senior employee in your organisation … for me it’s not easy."

The SGC was also expected to discuss the 'rescue plan' for Eastern Province and how to get the Union out of their financial turmoil, but Hoskins confirmed that did not happen. 

"We didn’t get onto EP today. There are so many issues that we want to discuss but we only have so many hours in a day," he said.

"We have a four-man committee that is dedicated to EP and I think there’s been a lot of progress made. From what I know personally, we’re probably heading in the right direction."

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