Lions mourn death of Luyt

2013-02-01 14:28
Louis Luyt (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) has expressed sadness at the death of one of its most iconic figures, Louis Luyt, who died in Durban on Friday at the age of 80.

“I would like to convey my deepest sympathies to Doc Luyt’s dear wife and children on behalf of myself and the Golden Lions Rugby Union,” GLRU president Kevin de Klerk, said via a statement released to the media on Friday.

“This union was always regarded as his home in rugby and we are saddened by the news of his passing.

“He was always a great mentor, for most of us involved in the game, and we always strive to attain the very high standards that he set. I will sorely miss him.”

The cause of Luyt's death is still unknown but he had been suffering with heart ailments for some time.

In 1989 Luyt took over the presidency of the Transvaal Rugby Union, building it into a world class entity. During this time, he was elected as the President of the South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU).

During this period, he came under attack for his administration style and efforts to make the sport professional.

He was accused of nepotism, using bullying tactics, and of autocratic administration, according to SAPA.

In 1992, Luyt clashed with the African National Congress when he chose to play only the Afrikaans section of the national anthem at the Springbok rugby Test match against the All Blacks at Ellis Park.

Despite these problems, Luyt played a crucial role in ensuring the national squad’s re-entry into the international arena.

His major contribution was in 1995, to facilitate the Springboks’ capture of the Rugby World Cup.

Luyt became infamous for his role in the court case involving President Nelson Mandela, when he was a hostile witness in a commission of inquiry into SARFU affairs.

Gradually, people - including his former son-in-law Rian Oberholzer, who was the SARFUMD - distanced themselves from him.

This resulted in Luyt quiting as SARFU president in May 1998.

Luyt then ventured into politics with the Federal Alliance (FA), which he personally financed. His stated purpose in forming the party was to protect the rights and integrity of Afrikaners.

The FA took part in South Africa’s first democratic election in 1999, and in 2000 it merged with the Democratic Party, which became the Democratic Alliance. However, Luyt later associated the party with the Freedom Front Plus.

Luyt served as a Member of Parliament for two years. He was also a member of the Judicial Services Commission.

In his book, Walking Proud, Luyt revealed that his birth name was Oswald Louis Petrus Poley, but that he took the surname of his stepfather Charles Luyt when his mother remarried, to become known as Louis Luyt.

He was married to Adri, and the couple has four children.

Read more on:    golden lions  |  kevin de klerk  |  louis luyt  |  rugby

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