First On EWN: WP & KZN demand Saru action on Jurie Roux

This comes after a draft report which alleges that Roux was involved in the misappropriation of funds.

FILE: Jurie Roux, CEO of the South African Rugby Union (Saru). Picture: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK.

CAPE TOWN - The Presidents of KwaZulu-Natal Rugby and Western Province Rugby, Graham MacKenzie and Thelo Wakefield, have called on South Africa Rugby Union (Saru) President Oregan Hoskins to provide urgent, necessary leadership to address the growing disquiet around CEO Jurie Roux.

The two are the first union heads to publicly voice their concern, telling EWN Sport that the allegations are effectively paralysing the sport and that Hoskins hasn't yet provided a clear plan to them of how to navigate the issue.

Wakefield, speaking from Cape Town, said, "As the president of a big union, first of all it's not good for the image of South African rugby. We have to think of the organisational image and defend that; secondly there's not a good atmosphere in rugby circles in South Africa at the moment.

"We are an international organisation, we deal with other international sides and organizations, and it's not good that every morning when we open the newspaper you read another chapter in the 'Jurie Roux saga'."

This comes after a draft KPMG report, commissioned by the University of Stellenbosch and obtained by Netwerk 24, alleging that Roux was involved in the misappropriation of funds to the tune of R35 million while employed there prior to joining SA Rugby.

It goes on to allege that he channeled money from the institution's reserve fund into the Maties Rugby Club.

Roux has yet to be questioned in this regard or indeed answer the allegations made in the report

MacKenzie concurs with Wakefield that the damage to the image of the sport requires immediate resolution, "I think any rugby leader would be worried. I must stress that the allegations, and they only that at this stage, are only things that we've seen in the media so we don't have any firsthand knowledge.

"But I do think that SA Rugby needs to come together, show some leadership and make rugby decisions to ensure that the reputational risk to the brand isn't any worse than it currently is."

This issue is exacerbated by the fact that Roux is a key member of the organisation's Executive Council who effectively facilitate the running of the professional game and one of their key roles at the moment is the selection of a new Springbok coach to succeed Heyneke Meyer, whose contract expired at the end of last year.

It's also understood that after initially backing Roux, Hoskins has now caused a split in the leadership structure after seeking his suspension pending an investigation into the matter.

Wakefield, meanwhile, is keen for the body to get on with its job of running the game and in order to do that wants Hoskins to address it as a matter of urgency.

"We have to rebuild the image of Saru, nationally and internationally, and the sooner we get to the bottom of this whole thing and we take decisive action on it the better for Saru.

"My humble approach to this would be to call a President's Council immediately, divulge all the information that I have at my disposal and then get the show back on track because it seems to me now that that we have no direction on this matter."

"We need to look at the serious things that we need to tackle in South African rugby and that is basically, I think, we are the only country in the world without a national coach, we need to attend to that; we have to rebuild the image of Saru again nationally and internationally.

"We can't all lose our heads and run around like chickens in a chicken-run. We have to get direction, we have to go and sit down and discuss the matter, fully, get some sanity back and take an informed decision on what the road ahead is all about."

Hoskins declined to comment when EWN contacted SA Rugby.