South Africa: WP Rugby's Future On the Line in Newlands Saga


So, the deal is done. The line in the sand is drawn. WPRFU president Zelt Marais will either go down in history as the man who turned the once-great union into a roaring success and have a statue built in his honour. Or he will be the villain who destroyed a legacy. There appears to be no middle ground.

Over the past three weeks WPRFU president Zelt Marais lobbied and convinced the union's council, made up of 80-odd clubs, to follow his "New Deal" with a little known property developer called Flyt (who were previously known as Any Side) and turn away from an agreed deal with Investec Property Fund.

Marais has backed the small guy over the big player. The Investec Property Fund in South Africa lists 98 properties and has a value of R16.9-billion. That excludes many overseas investments. The Flyt 12J Fund, according to its website, has a value of approximately R150-million in "select", "partnership" and "hospitality" funds. Flyt's value is 100 times smaller than Investec's.

It took more than a year for Investec and the WPRFU to reach agreement as there was careful due diligence carried out by both parties. Marais, who became president midway through...

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