Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has voiced its concern over the ongoing financial troubles that have plagued the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU).
In a statement released by the province's shadow MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Ross Purdon, calls for an investigation into those responsible for the financial running of the union were made.
Purdon had harsh words for EPRU president Cheeky Watson.
The full DA statement from Ross Purdon:
"The disgraceful treatment of
the EP Kings contracted players cannot go unchallenged. It is common
knowledge that the players have not been paid since the end of September and
that payment of their salaries prior to this has been haphazard and unreliable.
These are young men with young
families who week after week, month after month have put their bodies on the
line for our Province. This heartless treatment of professional sportsmen who
have a very brief window period to play professional sport is a disgrace.
The Democratic Alliance is in
possession of recent letters to the players and has kept them confidential
although these letters have recently surfaced on social media.
In a letter dated 15 December 2015, the players (in a shameful, two sentence
letter from Cheeky Watson) are told they (the Franchise) do not have any
further information regarding salaries.
Further to this letter, another letter from Watson dated 18th December informs
a number of players that their contracts are to be terminated (7 days before
Christmas!) and with no regard to outstanding duration thereof. To view the
letters, please clickhere.
MEC Pemmy Majodina recently
paid a fleeting visit to the EP Kings management in an apparent endeavour to
find solutions to the funding impasse and the absence of publicized financial
The Department of Sport
certainly does not have the required budget to bail the union out and the
prospects of her securing the necessary sponsorship are remote. While her
intentions are good, this is not going to solve the short term problem of young
families being left destitute during the festive season.
I am sure that the players are taking legal advice and I hope that they
are successful but legal cases take time and lots of money, which they do not
As the South African Rugby Union (SARU) has recently taken control of the
Southern Kings Franchise, I would like to appeal to them to immediately assist
the stricken players. It is very clear that no financial or humanitarian
aid will be forthcoming from the author (Cheeky Watson) of the aforementioned
Cheeky Watson's handling of the
EP Kings franchise and its financial affairs has been a travesty and this whole
dilemma requires an urgent and comprehensive investigation and forensic audit
in order to hold all of those responsible for this mess, to account."