Story by | Dr Asad Bhorat
The Transformation and Anti-racism Rugby Committee (TARC) would like to call for a full forensic audit of the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and its finances in the wake of the crisis of leadership in the upper echelons of South African rugby. The lack of leadership shown by SARU in this instance is a significant pointer to greater proverbial skeletons in the cupboards of the self appointed custodians of rugby in this country.
The Saru CEO, Jurie Roux was exposed in a report by audit firm KPMG, which revealed that Roux “hid” spending and “withheld” about R35m of the University’s reserves from the university council. Clearly, the University wants this money returned, as it faces the ‘fees must fall’ uprising by students across the country.
Further claims have been reported about the lawyer of Jurie Roux using the SA Rugby Logo without compensating rugby, in effect being allowed to make huge amounts of money when at the same time the SARU claims to have no money to develop rugby in the townships of this country.
Until recently, and long after the President of SARU Oregan Hoskins, was aware of the report against Roux, Roux was still appointed and tasked with finding the right Springbok coach. The KPMG report was reportedly handed to Hoskins in 2014, supposedly, to decide on the steps to be taken against his CEO. Instead, he chose to show the report to his CEO and in so doing breech a confidentially agreement with the University. Why was this done?
The motivation behind this decision points to a self protection mode mentality of the leadership in rugby. Speculation is rife that there may in fact be more than one rotten apple at SARU. This would explain the obvious disregard for good governance in a sporting body but would then also demand that there is a full investigation into all of SARU’s finances. The recent exposure of widespread corruption at FIFA comes to mind where a single case lead to unravelling a broader collusion of corruption in the organisation.
In fact, the allegations around Roux where well known before his appointment as CEO of the SARU, which begs the further question around the selection and recruitment of staff at the SARU. The SARU may well claim that the process was independent, but now it is clear that it was either flawed or worse an intentional oversight. The question is why would SARU go ahead with appointing a CEO with that cloud hanging over his head?
Oregan Hoskins’ involvement in the final appointment of the CEO, the continued support of Roux and in fact further deciding to appoint him with the task of finding a replacement for Heyneke Meyer is quite disturbing. While his lack of leadership has been a consistent deficiency, his lack of good governance is being exposed as a concern and should not be allowed to continue to play a role in SARU any longer.
The TARC would like to call for an independent investigation into the finances of the SARU. Its continued claim of poverty has become a tired excuse to the masses who would like to see and play rugby in regions that continue to be disadvantaged. The unravelling of this crisis may be the trigger that SARU needs to transform itself. In any case, the resentment and anger is growing and SARU may soon see the results of years of frustration exploding in its face.