Chris Hewitt reports for news24 that Oregan Hoskins meets with Schalk Burger snr and Andre Markgraaff on Wednesday. He described the meeting to me as a “social visit”, but with presidential elections looming at the end of the month, there are few around who’ll buy that one.
More accurately, Hoskins’s meeting with Markgraaff is an attempt to tap into the former Bok coach’s renowned influence with the smaller unions. It’s pure politicking and an effort to build a winning alliance against challenger Mike Stofile.
Hoskins ran against Brian van Rooyen in the last election as the candidate of integrity. He promised to change the politics of rugby administration in favour of transparency and openness.
In meeting with Markgraaff, he has shown that four years at the helm of South African rugby has made him the candidate of business as usual. He is now part of the establishment, the status quo, striving to cling on to power, and willing to associate himself with anyone in order to do it.
Hoskins was quick to stress to me that there would be “no promises” made to Markgraaff, but would not deny that the upcoming election would be discussed.
Markgraaff has proven to be the great survivor of South African rugby. A racial slur, repeated non-performance as a coach and numerous resignations have failed to prevent him from resurfacing in prominent and influential positions year after year.
This is a man who may champion questionable policy but is a master politician. He knows that to get something, you give something. And he also knows that when a man is in Hoskins’s position, you are ready to deal.
Free of Jake White, “Markies’s” great nemesis who he campaigned tirelessly against, it now seems the man who South African rugby just can’t get rid off has set his sights on Stofile.
And he has found a willing cheerleader in Burger snr, a surrogate of Johann Rupert, part of the so-called “third force” uncovered in an SI investigation last year.
What is amusing about Burger and Markgraaff’s alliance is that it is well known in South African rugby circles that the two despise each other.
Seldom are the two even in the same room such is the hostility, and their newly-found common ground is due to a mutual enemy rather than any softening in personal animosity.
It doesn’t take much analysis to realise this is “swart gevaar” all over again.
We live in a democracy and therefore Hoskins has the right to run for re-election, and no doubt there will be those who support his candidacy.
Surely, though, he has both the integrity and the insight to realise that the politics of Markgraaff, the backstabbing and the racism, are relics of the past.
Surely he realises that after a decade of having Markgraaff involved in various capacities, we have learnt that what is in Markgraaff’s best interest is seldom in South Africa’s.
Surely he has the ability to recognise that by associating with Markgraaff, he is associating with his ideals and behaviour.
He has been in the game too long to be allowed the excuse of naivety.
Therefore it can only be assumed that meeting with Markgraaff is a strategic move designed to pull votes. It reflects a win-at-all costs attitude, free of principles, and leaves me to shudder at some of the policy decisions that await should he emerge victorious.
South African rugby has moved on from Markgraaff. If Hoskins doesn’t too, it is time to move on from him.Tweet