Morné

SWD on the brink of chaos


Written by Morné Nortier (Morné)

Posted in :Original Content, Other SA Teams on 5 Feb 2010 at 13:51
Tagged with : ,

Once again political issues have left the beleaguered SWD Eagles players with major uncertainty and insecurity.

SWD Rugby has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. It varies from Presidents, vice presidents and executive committee member’s being removed, to costly litigation in the High Court and now, players not being paid on time or only getting ‘assurances’ that the employers contractual obligations to pay them in the future, will be honoured.

A while back it was reported that SA Rugby would sell its shares in SWD Rugby Union to a private company, Bunker Capital. The shareholding was reported to be 50% which at the time and was heralded as groundbreaking in South African rugby.

Relationships however between Bunker Capital and the SWD Rugby Union (amateur arm) and Eagles Pty Ltd. (commercial arm) broke down over the last couple of months, ironically enough at the same time that SWD President, Stag Cronje, was voted out as president from the union – Cronje is currently challenging this action in court.

Willie Small, union chief executive, was quoted in saying that the breakdown in relationships between Cronje and the union, directly affected the investment and partnership they have with Bunker Capital suggesting that the reason for Bunker’s apparent refusal to honour their agreement to the union and Eagles company, was as a direct result in the union’s democratic decision to relieve Cronje from his duties.

“Cronje is said to have initiated our partnership with Bunker, and now it would appear as if he is favouring the interests of Bunker Capital over those of SWD Union,” Small told the Herald in a recent interview.

Relations did not only break down between Cronje and SWD union, but also with the players and their Trade Union SARPA, where there have been alleged cases of intimidation where the professional players and their Union Office bearers have been threatened that they would be chased away from the union for getting involved in political games.

The players have lodged a grievance about their concerns which has been ignored. Player’s have also been reluctant to participate in formal practice sessions for fear of injury. The main reason being that if they were not going to be paid again they would not be able to pay their medical aid premiums. The players were also threatened that they would be chased away if they fail to pitch up for practice.

Bunker Capital however claims that they ceased payments to SWD union because of their failure to honour their obligations after Cronje was ousted.

From what we gathered speaking to representatives of SWD Union, the interim committee appointed under leadership of Fareed Stemmett, Edward Jackson and John Nortje, raised concerns about funds paid over to Bunker Capital and how it is managed.

Apparently there is a fund arranged by Bunker Capital to assist Eagles Rugby, SWD Union and the academy to meet their financial obligations. This includes a reported R3-million paid to the SWD union, R2-million to the Eagles and R1.5-million to establish an academy. There is also talk of a player salary protection fund.

It would appear that the SWD union, nor any of the players, have clear insight how this fund works, what agreements are in place etc. One of the reasons raised for concern by the SWD union (alarm bells) is the apparent ability for Fund to show in excess of a 300% growth in funds in just over a month!

SARPA is in the process of calling SA Rugby to intervene as a matter of urgency to assist in addressing our member’s concerns.

Initially after SARPA,’s repeated and protracted intervention to try and facilitate a resolution of the dispute, affecting their member’s, between SWD Rugby union and Bunker Capital, player’s salaries were eventually paid (although late).

A compromise was then reached between SWD Rugby and Bunker Capital where it was agreed to commit to certain conditions raised in the deliberations. SARPA however are perturbed that commitments given by Bunker have not been complied with.

In January the same problems surfaced again and players were told that they either might not be paid, or paid late. Eventually, players received cheques as payment but then again, the cheques had a clearance period in some cases of up to 8 days.

According to SARPA, it is clear that conditions agreed to by all parties have not been met, nor are the SWD Union or Bunker Capital willing to meet the players demands. SARPA has thus been left with no other option to refer the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on behalf of the players for urgent attention.

As a SARPA representative told us, attempts or negotiations with the employer and shareholders have been exhausted and effectively failed.

We have also learned that the majority of the professional players currently contracted to SWD Eagles are being hounded by player agents with offers of employment elsewhere.

Should this matter not be resolved by 12th February 2010 all the players at SWD Eagles will be entitled to terminate their contracts and seek reasonable compensation. In addition they will be free to then enter into negotiations with Agents and or other rugby employers. At this stage there is no real justification for the players to remain in George, much to the detriment of rugby in the region and province.

The situation has degenerated to such and extent that the player’s only option left, apart from lodging a case with the CCMA, is to consider participating in a strike action with the possible result that where no rugby will be played in the union until such time that this matter is resolved.

The time has now come for the leaders in our game to stand up and make themselves heard. And there is no better time than now because in a couple of month’s time the new leadership of SA Rugby will be elected.

For far too long have we neglected our greatest assets of the game (the players), not to mention the game itself, were it can be reasonably perceived that individuals are in all likelihood trying to further their own selfish interests and retain power, all in the name of rugby.



55 Comments

  • one less team to worry about on our road to vodacom cup glory :-)

  • Comment 1, posted at 05.02.10 13:56:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • its ridiculous, every year one of the shitty unions has a some drama or other and yet their voting power is exactly the same as the top 5 money making unions. the scarier thing is these crap teams outnumber the top teams and cause most the mess at saru.

  • Comment 2, posted at 05.02.10 14:11:36 by try time Reply

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  • @try time (Comment 2) : amen brother

  • Comment 3, posted at 05.02.10 14:19:31 by robdylan Reply
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  • Hehehe :mrgreen: :mrgreen: this should be an interesting experiment as to the different responses of the different blogs it has been posted on.

  • Comment 4, posted at 05.02.10 14:20:10 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) :

    Quite!!!

    @try time (Comment 2) :

    Please just differentiate between the teams, and the administrators of those teams! ;)

  • Comment 5, posted at 05.02.10 14:21:51 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 5) : sorry, my terminology was wrong. it should have been union not team. the players are the ones that suffer the most. :oops:

  • Comment 6, posted at 05.02.10 14:28:48 by try time Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) : i’ll behave so ours looks the most educated. :lol: :lol: (oh and so i don’t incur the wrath of the mighty rob)

  • Comment 7, posted at 05.02.10 14:32:52 by try time Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 5) : hiyas morne , man i enjoyed your putting grant in his place in keo :lol:

  • Comment 8, posted at 05.02.10 15:10:31 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • Simple really.

    Someone brings a major sponsor on board, that sponsor in a lot of cases comes onboard because they are happy with the guy who is looking to bring them onboard. When that guy then leaves the sponsor sometimes also leaves.

    It works the same the whole world over, a principal is represented by a company becasue X is employed by the company and knows their product. X leaves and the principal leaves with him (AFTER the current contract has lapsed)

  • Comment 9, posted at 05.02.10 15:11:51 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • but also with the players and their Trade Union SARPA, where there have been alleged cases of intimidation where the professional players and their Union Office bearers have been threatened that they would be chased away from the union for getting involved in political games.

    Do I understand this correctly? The Union (SARPA) guys have been told by the SWD Rugby Union to not get involved or they will be told to leave?

  • Comment 10, posted at 05.02.10 15:15:55 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @try time (Comment 2) : And I had vissions of this ground breaking amalgamation with Bunker Capital making this team union anything but shitty and real contenders to pull and pay the top players. Seems I was very wrong.
    J Arthur Brown anyone.

  • Comment 11, posted at 05.02.10 15:19:29 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) :

    Pretty much

  • Comment 12, posted at 05.02.10 15:19:39 by Morné Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 9) :

    Difference…

    They are not a sponsor, they own 50% of SWD thus meaning they are currently not paying their own employees.

  • Comment 13, posted at 05.02.10 15:20:42 by Morné Reply
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  • Ag it’s really pretty simple. let the guys whose job it is to manage the money, mange the money. The guys whos job it is to manage the team should manage the team.

    Don’t get involved in kak that you know nothing about.

  • Comment 14, posted at 05.02.10 15:21:15 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) :

    In a perfect world.

  • Comment 15, posted at 05.02.10 15:22:32 by Morné Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 14) :

    Sorry that should have been in reply to @Morné (Comment 13) :

  • Comment 16, posted at 05.02.10 15:22:43 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 15) :

    GREED mate. GREED!!!!!!!!(by different names) Will be the cause for the majority of problems.

    The players are doing nothing other than protesting payment. the we may get injured excuses are kak

    The SWD union guys are being greedy by wanting to be involved in the money side of things.

    The Bunker guys want to keep their money in a “bunker” and out of the hands of the greedy (rightly so.)

  • Comment 17, posted at 05.02.10 15:25:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • “From what we gathered speaking to representatives of SWD Union, the interim committee appointed under leadership of Fareed Stemmett, Edward Jackson and John Nortje, raised concerns about funds paid over to Bunker Capital and how it is managed.”

    This is really worrying – surely Bunker Capital should be providing the funds to the Eagles and not the other way round. :?:

  • Comment 18, posted at 05.02.10 15:26:24 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 13) :

    employees who are no longer performing the jobs they are paid to do.

  • Comment 19, posted at 05.02.10 15:26:28 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 18) :

    I think it is probabaly a case of the union receiving an annual grant from SARU and giving it to Bunker for investment. A good thing IMO, rather than just letting it sit and being spent slowly as needed.

  • Comment 20, posted at 05.02.10 15:28:13 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 18) :

    Bunker Capital owns SWD, or 50% of this.

    Part of the deal was that they manage the funds which included payments made to SWD, Eagles company, academy, etc.

    Money SWD received was pushed into the Bunker ‘funds’.

  • Comment 21, posted at 05.02.10 15:29:47 by Morné Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 17) :

    No doubt, but Bunker also has no right not to pay the players. There are not just laws against that, it is simply unjust.

  • Comment 22, posted at 05.02.10 15:30:43 by Morné Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 21) : @Morné (Comment 22) :
    Well exactly, why pay funds that the union receives to Bunker capital who then dont / cant pay the players – its clearly not a healthy situation.

  • Comment 23, posted at 05.02.10 15:39:17 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 23) :

    The shit started when Stag was booted.

  • Comment 24, posted at 05.02.10 15:48:54 by Morné Reply
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  • @Salmonoid (Comment 23) :

    It seems they could play the players but didn’t becasue they were trying to prove a point of some sort.

    Not sure what the point was but for one of the funds to increase by 300% ?????? Maybe they are also not completely aboveboard

  • Comment 25, posted at 05.02.10 15:55:22 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 24) : @KSA Shark © (Comment 25) :
    Whatever is going on here its not good. Im disappointed because I really had high hopes that one of the small unions would come good. This time last year things were looking rosy for SWD and dire for EP / Border. Things seem quiete different now.

  • Comment 26, posted at 05.02.10 16:06:59 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @Morné (Comment 24) : surely bunker capital were buying into the SWD Union and not to Stag Cronje’s private business. The president of the union is democratically elected by the clubs that form the union, this should have been clear to Bunker Capital from the get-go!

    Without knowing exactly where the breakdown (excuse the pun) in relations is i can’t really apportion any blame at this point. But it is not looking good.

  • Comment 27, posted at 05.02.10 17:28:54 by Megatron Reply

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  • @Megatron (Comment 27) :

    yes they probably did buy into the union, but it was also probably after the looked at the leader / ceo of the union (company). now that that leader has changed they no longer feel the comapny is going the way they would like it to.

    I also feel we are missing some of the picture here, What has SWD done to cause Bunker not to pay it’s funds?

  • Comment 28, posted at 05.02.10 17:57:10 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • I dunno dudes, these Bunker boys are in roughly the same business that I’m in but something stinks a bit about them.

    Normally investment houses specialise in one area – these guys seem to offer it all. Hedge funds, private equity, advisory services, mutual funds etc. they seem to play in all sectors from mining to agriculture to sport to financial services… I really dont know how they spread themsevles so thin.

    Also, normally with investment houses like these the owners put up their credentials and experience on their website or at the very, very least let you know about the team – with these guys there is no indication of where the expertise comes from. Real cloak and dagger stuff.

    All in all it leaves me wondering about their operations.

    Reading a bit further on their website its mostly just gobbledygook. So much of it makes no sense whatsoever.

    I’d be very wary of these guys.

  • Comment 29, posted at 05.02.10 18:48:44 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 28) :

    I’m wondering if they actually have the money…

  • Comment 30, posted at 05.02.10 18:50:51 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • Seems Bunker Capital are involved in a blame-game for some ‘Christian’ property pyramid scheme in the Eastern Cape…

    http://www.weekendpost.co.za/main/2008/11/15/news/nl01_15112008.htm

  • Comment 31, posted at 05.02.10 18:53:36 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 29) : Guess SWD are wishing they’d been wary too…

  • Comment 32, posted at 05.02.10 18:59:20 by robdylan Reply
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  • Read this and tell me if it makes any sesne whatsoever.

    Straight from their website under ‘Partners’. Normally this is where the partners in the business would have a pic of themsevles up and detail their experiecne and credentials.

    Bunker forms a unique trilogy with Mondial Pier Investment Group and Strategic Kingdom Investment Trust, jointly referred to as the Bunker SKI Group.

    Strategic Kingdom Investment Trust monitors the 5fold bottom line that is adhered to by all group member companies of Bunker SKI Group. For more information you can request a copy of the SKI Portfolio Brief from Bunker Capital.

    Mondial Pier is an independent investment group focused on private equity holding with initial underlying value in excess of R500 million. Mondial Pier holds a strong property portfolio in South Africa and Nigeria, which forms the backbone of Mondial Pier’s expanding group investment in property, financial services and industrial projects and enterprises. Mondial Pier founded the Keystone Funding Mechanism™ that provides for the establishment of captive and semi-captive private equity funds and fund of funds (selected mutual and hedge funds) in terms of which investment subscription with dynamic capital protection is generated for further investment in selected mutual fund(s) and hedge fund(s) with the objective to achieve exceptional returns on investment, on the basis that same returns on investment will be applied to fund projects in selected developing countries in Africa (WTF!!!) Bunker is contracted to serve as specialist corporate manager of the referred fund of funds. Mondial Pier is the sponsor and principal of the first private equity captive funds for contracted management by Bunker Capital with specialist services provided by Pier Equity Practice.

  • Comment 33, posted at 05.02.10 18:59:59 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 32) :

    Dude, it just gets worse the further you delve into it.

    I’m still unable to find out where the expertise sits and who is in the investment team.
    Stinks to high heaven and controversy seems to follow them like a bad curry fart.

  • Comment 34, posted at 05.02.10 19:02:42 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 33) : dude, you don’t have to be a finance guru to realise that there’s nothing but meaningless jargon and gobbledegook there!

  • Comment 35, posted at 05.02.10 19:02:47 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 35) :

    The Keystone Funding Mechanism and dynamic capital protection. That is just too funny. What a crock of shit.

  • Comment 36, posted at 05.02.10 19:05:34 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 34) : only in the allegedly professional ranks of South African rugby could this sort of thing happen TWICE! To two unions barely 200km apart.

  • Comment 37, posted at 05.02.10 19:08:17 by robdylan Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 36) : I’m surprised there wasn’t a “3 phase divestiture paradigm” and “360 degree governance model” in there somewhere :)

  • Comment 38, posted at 05.02.10 19:10:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • A search on Mondial Pier investments reveals it changed its name in 2008, presumably iot was a shell before that.

    3 months later they were defending themselve sin the High Court.
    Was for a Declaratory Order – no idea what for but nevertheless…
    Only other reference to Mondial I could find was in relation ot the properyt scheme as referencecd above.

    Just another reason for unions to be run by professionals and not idiots that can be duped by the likes of this lot.

  • Comment 39, posted at 05.02.10 19:12:51 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 36) :

    Hey it IS it is Trademarked. :lol:

  • Comment 40, posted at 05.02.10 19:13:44 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 37) :

    Plaas japies… ;-)
    Can be folled by any old shit. Wonder if these guys bought the kubus thing all those years ago.

  • Comment 41, posted at 05.02.10 19:13:54 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 38) :

    Yeah but there is a 5fold bottom line!

    Seriously – do people buy this rubbish? I need to return to SA – seems its easy to get rich quick!

  • Comment 42, posted at 05.02.10 19:14:43 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 40) :

    Lol. Do you know if you do a google search for “Keystone Funding Mechanism™” the only 100% result you get is on the bunker website?

    I very, very much doubt that is a registered trademark. Would be fraud if it isnt and definitely breaking the law somewhere if thats the case.

  • Comment 43, posted at 05.02.10 19:17:39 by VinChainSaw Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 43) : um, HELLO!!! where is STAG CRONJE to vouch for this okes that cannot work with anyone but him?

    As Morne’s article suggested, the funds accumulated up to something like 300%!

    Can you say FRAUD?

  • Comment 44, posted at 06.02.10 02:55:49 by Megatron Reply

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  • Sharks…Bulls decide against utilising De Wet Barry.He is fit…on form…and available….now instead of Shark Lover trying to drive a wedge between Morne and i , when none exists, i suggest you guys let Straueli know and make a move on De Wet.

    12 IS A CONCERN AT sHARKS…HERE IS A sTORMER giving some good advice.

    SL…grow up…spineless twit!

  • Comment 45, posted at 06.02.10 09:19:08 by grant10 Reply

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  • @grant10 (Comment 45) : Agreed. We need all the help we can get and even though I`m not the biggest Barry Fan, he`s better than Strauss any day of the week and twice on a Saturday . . .

  • Comment 46, posted at 06.02.10 09:30:37 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 33) : Nigeria hey? They must be able to get their hands om some good stuff LOLOL!

  • Comment 47, posted at 06.02.10 09:32:16 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • @grant10 (Comment 45) : grant don’t worry about that fat basta*d!!!

  • Comment 48, posted at 06.02.10 10:29:24 by Megatron Reply

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  • @Megatron (Comment 48) : @grant10 (Comment 45) : guys, please. This is not keo and we don’t allow personal insults and petty name-calling here. Your comments will stand, but next time I will edit and issue a warning. Thanks

  • Comment 49, posted at 06.02.10 11:14:24 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 49) : sorry to you Rob.

    I just dont like people taking pot shots behind my back.

    Cowardly.

  • Comment 50, posted at 06.02.10 11:20:14 by grant10 Reply

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  • @grant10 (Comment 50) : I understand that and I’ll have a word with SL too. Don’t mind what you guys get up to over on the other side, but I’d really appreciate it if you could keep it civil here. That doesn’t mean you need to agree with each other, of course. Just attack the argument, not the person making it.

  • Comment 51, posted at 06.02.10 11:49:00 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 49) : well rob, you should have stopped it at the beginning when sharks_lover mentioned Grant’s name first, you can’t police the reaction when the instigator had free reign here.

    Otherwise it’s all gravy mate.

  • Comment 52, posted at 06.02.10 12:54:45 by Megatron Reply

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  • @grant10 (Comment 45) :

    I actually agree with Barry being a good back-up if needed at the Sharks, problem is, how do we justify dropping one of Jacobs or Murray. and we can’t exactly keep him on the VC payroll until we decide we need him.

  • Comment 53, posted at 06.02.10 15:48:12 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 53) :
    Dude, when last did Murray have a good game for the Sharks. He doesnt deserve to be there based on his recent form…

  • Comment 54, posted at 06.02.10 16:54:51 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 54) :

    if you want to use that argument then neither should Barry. :razz:

  • Comment 55, posted at 06.02.10 16:57:35 by KSA Shark © Reply

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