SA Rugby defends Jurie Roux appointment, explains position after Parliament grilling

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Jurie Roux. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
Jurie Roux. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
  • SA Rugby president Mark Alexander says they can't suspend their chief executive officer Jurie Roux based on what happened at his previous employer.
  • SA Rugby faced the Parliamentary Sports Portfolio Committee on Wednesday where the matter of Roux was raised.
  • The University of Stellenbosch is claiming R37-million from Roux stemming from his tenure as finance director where he's accused of transferring monies without permission.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander says their embattled chief executive officer Jurie Roux cannot be suspended because his alleged transgressions at the University of Stellenbosch took place before he joined the organisation.

Alexander was fielding questions from MPs during SA Rugby's appearance in front of the Sports Portfolio Committee on Wednesday, where the issue around Roux's continued employment with the organisation was raised.

Roux has been taken to the Western Cape High Court by his former employers, the University of Stellenbosch, over his role in the transferring of funds from a university account to the rugby club without the requisite permission.

Roux was the director of finance at the university from 2002 to 2010 before moving to SA Rugby in his current capacity, with the allegations of the Stellenbosch issues cropping up in 2013.

A KPMG report ignited the subsequent legal wrangling between Roux and the university which led to two arbitration awards going the way of the university.

With the university not satisfied by the attempts made by Roux and his legal team to pay back the R37-million they're claiming from him, they then approached the High Court in a move that was opposed by Roux, who then sought further relief from the court in wanting the two arbitration awards overturned.

Alexander said due processes is being followed, adding that there have been many examples of employees not being suspended in their current jobs for mistakes made elsewhere.

"It must be remembered that this happened with his previous employer and not with SA Rugby," Alexander said.

"It is not a cut and dried matter like [if] he worked for SA Rugby, there are other options we had to take and we have to follow due processes.

"We'll wait for our attorneys to come back to us and we'll follow their advice, because it wouldn't be a normal suspension.

"There have been similar instances elsewhere, but you can't suspend a person for something that happened in a different organisation.

"There were no allegations when he was employed."

Alexander said Roux had kept the union abreast of every detail of his case, and that at the time of his appointment, there wasn't any legal action against him.

Alexander added that the need to follow due legal processes meant that Roux couldn't be suspended, and that he was also paying for his own legal fees.

"At that point in time, there were no allegations of legal action against him when he was appointed," Alexander said.

"Three years later, after his excellent service at SA Rugby, Mr. Roux advised the president at the time of the legal action being taken against him.

"The legal advice we took at the time was clear on it being premature to suspend the CEO at the time, and more legal advice we took on pointed us to waiting until the case has been resolved.

"We took that to our attorneys and checked whether we applied our fiduciary responsibilities and the necessary corporate governance.

"It is Mr Roux's case and SA Rugby has nothing to do with his bills. What we're paying for is the advice we're getting from our lawyers.

"We're not paying for his legal fees."

Alexander explained to Democratic Alliance MP Tsepo Mhlongo that SA Rugby was being represented by Professor Michael Katz and Wim Trengrove in the matter when pressed on SA Rugby's legal representation.

Mhlongo, though, pressed for Roux's suspension based on the loss of these two arbitrations.

"He's lost a court case and I believe and propose that he must be suspended from where due processes will follow," Mhlongo said.

"Please share the opinion that you got from the legal firm. He must be suspended."

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