Cape Town – Western Province Rugby Union supremo Thelo
Wakefield says it is “definitely business as usual” at Newlands, following the
revelation that powerful investment company backers Remgro are withdrawing from
Speaking to Sport24 on Saturday, the president said there
was “no reason for panic” over the situation.
He said they expected to make a “very positive announcement
in the near future … let’s leave it at that”.
This follows Netwerk24 reporting on Friday that Remgro, in a
move confirmed by their CEO Jannie Durand, will not be converting loans to
embattled WP into stake-holding.
It will also mean that loans amounting to more than
R40-million last year, which served as a rescue remedy at the time, have to be
With the unexpected development, the WPRU simultaneously
loses the business expertise of Remgro, which previously had a 24.9 percent
stake in the WP Rugby business wing, controversially liquidated in 2016.
During the crisis period immediately leading up to it,
Remgro pumped money in to ensure that salaries of staff and players could still
Durand was quoted by Netwerk24’s Stephen Nell as saying: “We
must now sit down with WP and chat about how the money will be repaid.
Naturally we will be reasonable and not dump (them) overnight into a new
“Western Province will now have to seek a new business
partner, or the union will have to run their affairs themselves.”
Durand said that certain areas of disagreement with WP had
not been the reason for their withdrawal, and that the core problem was the
South African Rugby Union’s franchise model and the stipulations associated
Several months ago, Saru adjusted its constitution to allow
for outside parties to up their shareholdings to a maximum of 74 percent in
According to Durand, Saru had the power to withdraw the
Super Rugby participation status of a franchise at any juncture, with 12
“We cannot expose our shareholders to that sort of risk,” he
Also according to the future model, all intellectual capital
within a union’s business wing belongs to Saru.
Wakefield ebulliently announced in late December last year
that the future of WP Rugby had been “saved” after a new entity owned by the
union – backed by Remgro – effectively bought the liquidated company.
Remgro Sport Investments were earmarked for a 49 percent
share in it.
“Western Province Rugby is safe and sound,” Wakefield had
said at the time. “We look forward to working with Remgro to build the company
on a sound basis and sound foundation.”
Sport24 has sought comment from Saru’s general manager
(corporate affairs), Andy Colquhoun, but had not yet received a reply at the
time of writing.
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