Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union and the Sharks have announced the appointment of 24-year-old Siseko Jafta as general manager of the KZNRU, effective from January 1, 2017.
There have been some structural changes within the KZNRU as both the amateur and professional bodies at the union have committed to closely aligning themselves to further strengthen and grow the game in KZN.
Jafta takes over the reins from current KZNRU CEO, Pete Smith, 62, who after close-on 25 years of service, is retiring at the end December 2016.
Jafta is a St Charles old boy who was scouted and signed by the Sharks back in 2009 after representing South Africa at Under-18 level.
As an athletic loose-forward with great potential, he went on to represent the Sharks junior teams until a serious neck injury prematurely ended his promising rugby career in 2011.
Circumstances like the one Siseko encountered in 2011 can shatter dreams and leave a person demotivated, but not him.
With a strong desire to succeed, he went on to study towards a BCom Degree and upon completion was employed by The Sharks in an admin role that saw him manage the junior teams as well as provide a mentorship role to young players entering the system.
In 2016, he took over the administration relating to clubs in the province.
"This appointment marks the dawn of a new and exciting era in KZN Rugby," Francois Louis, the president of the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union said.
"In a short space of time Jafta has gained a good reputation amongst stakeholders and will bring strong leadership, a new and exciting approach, and ideas to add growth and value to the portfolio."
Sharks CEO, Gary Teichmann, added: "Jafta is a very likeable person with an exceptional ability to think analytically and work under pressure. "We are looking forward to the fresh ideas he will bring to the table and we will be there every step of the way to provide the necessary support and guidance he requires. On behalf of us all, I wish him the very best in his new role."
Louis also acknowledged the massive role played by retiring CEO Pete Smith.
"On behalf of The Sharks and the KZNRU, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Pete for his invaluable contribution and tireless efforts in administering the amateur game as well as his passion and efforts in ensuring that club rugby in KZN continues to grow," he said. "At the end of his tenure, he leaves the KZNRU in good stead and we salute him for the many years of dedication, commitment and service he has given to rugby in this province."