News24.co.za reports that the president of the South African Rugby Union (Saru), Regan Hoskins, has – inadvertently, it seems – been drawn into a row about the signing of a R700m broadcast deal with SuperSport.
And now, in another case of public infighting, Saru has been “reported” to the Minister of Sport, Makhenkesi Stofile, by the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) who accuses Hoskins, together with CEO of SA Rugby Jonathan Stones and the chair of SA Rugby’s board of directors Mpumelelo Tshume, of signing the agreement without consulting the presidents’ council.
However, Stones maintains he had teleconferences with the unions’ presidents as well as meetings with some of them before signing the deal.
It is based on this that Hoskins signed the contract, which had gone through three redrafts, according to the Business Day who quotes Stones in this regard.
Hoskins, meanwhile, is in a battle for survival with the brother of the Minister of Sport, who is the deputy president of Saru and will challenge Hoskins for South African rugby’s top position at next month’s election.
Although Mike Stofile is not mentioned in the present row, it is generally perceived as part of the on-going spat between Stofile and Hoskins and also a reflection of the mood of the unsettled EPRU, who are vying for a Super 14 berth through renewed efforts of Anthony McKeever.
Hoskins has countered that the present issue was not mentioned when he chaired their board at a meeting last week.
The complete letter to the Minister of Sport as published by Business Day reads as follows:
My letter dated 30 November 2007, of which I never had the privilege of a reply, refers. I address this letter also to the Honourable Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Stofile, due to the fact that I am seriously concerned about the actions taken by the relevant people in this matter and I request that he will, in the light of the new Sports Act, investigate this matter.
I have no other choice but to write this e-mail, but I do so without prejudice of any of my rights. I also write this letter in the light of a press release, released by Mr Jonathan Stones, on 1 February 2008, therefore because of the urgency of this matter it is not on an official letterhead but I do so with the knowledge of my co-president Mr P da Silva and the deputy president Mr F Makoki.
I need to place the following on record:
1. I learnt that on 23 November 2007 an agreement for a sponsorship was entered into between SA Rugby Union; SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd.and Super Sport to the value of R700 million by the president of SA Rugby Union, effective only in 2011.
2. I was part of an urgent presidents council meeting that was held by ways of a teleconference to obtain the necessary authorisation for the signing of the agreement. Up to date no agenda and no facts with regards to the agreement with SuperSport, was revealed to us. I once again confirm my objections as stated in my letter of 30 November 2007. I furthermore pleaded for the postponement of the meeting with Mr Jonathan Stones and despite this my request was ignored. I got the distinct impression that Mr. Stones’ loyalty was with the finalisation of the SuperSport transaction and not in the best interest of SA Rugby.
3. I am of the opinion that the signatories to the agreement did not have the authority to sign the agreement and to bind SA Rugby and therefore I do have the distinct impression that SA Rugby cannot be bound to the agreement.
4. The members of the presidents’ council were, once again, as in the past, not properly informed about the transaction and not privy to all the facts. I am of the distinct opinion that the contract was entered into and as an after thought ratification was sought by the relevant people from the presidents’ council due to the fact that SA Rugby Union is a party to the agreement.
5. The procedure followed by the relevant people is, according to me, not in terms of the Constitution of SA Rugby and also not in terms of the agreement between SA Rugby Union and SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd. I am of the opinion that the presidents’ council was abused by the relevant persons to take a decision which would not have been taken under normal circumstances.
6. The following members of the presidents’ council were also not informed about this teleconference them being, Messrs. Basson, Stofile, Pringle, Ferreira and Rautenbach. Mr. Jackie Abrahams and Ms Viwe Qegu voiced their strong disapproval of the decision and I am of the opinion that if Ms Kalako-Williams were privy to this information that she would also have voiced her objection to the agreement. Furthermore it is important to note that the objection by WP Rugby Union, which was also in writing, has not been addressed.
Further I am of the strong opinion that the rest of the presidents’ council would have voiced their strong disapproval of the agreement should they have had all the relevant facts and information at their disposal. They never had the privilege to exercise their right of full disclosure in order to make an informed decision.
7. I am of the distinct opinion that the market was never tested with regards to this agreement. The extent of this agreement requires a proper investigation and evaluation, before a final decision, surely can be made. There was no transparency with regards to this agreement and I am of the opinion that the principals of good corporate governance were not adhered to. I seriously question the modus operandi of the relevant parties to such an extent that I am suspicious about the real reason for the signing of this agreement, especially in the light of the fact that this agreement only starts effectively in 2011.
I therefore conclude this e-mail by requesting the Honorable Minister to enquire about the legality of the authority obtained to enter into this agreement and to empower the presidents council to rectify, if necessary, the actions taken by the individuals.
Cheeky Watson, Pat De Silva