Western Province Rugby was rocked by the resignation of two board members this week.
DHL’s Hennie Heymans and Brightrock’s Suzanne Stevens – the representatives of their two main sponsors – stepped down as board members of the professional arm (WPPR), leading to president Zelt Marais and chairman Ebrahim Rasool calling a media conference yesterday.
After an opening statement from Rasool in which he didn’t give the reasons for the resignations, he was immediately asked if WP is following in the footsteps of the Southern Kings who were liquidated recently.
But Rasool says: “I don’t think that there’s anything similar to the situation.
“I think we have an asset depth which is enormous in WP…
“We are not in the unfortunate situation that EP Rugby has found itself in.”
While the duo didn’t seem too worried about possible damage the resignations could have done to relationships with their sponsors, the attention quickly shifted to WP’s search for an equity partner.
American based company MVM Holdings, led by South African-born businessman Marco Masotti, is keen.
But Marais warned: “We are looking for an equity partner… you don’t just rush into a marriage.
“As the saying goes: Short-term greed could be long-term disaster.”
Of this deal, Rasool says: “I’ve been instructed as chair that we write to MVM to say that we know that there is a possibility that Mr Masotti will be in SA in November and that we’d like to meet with him.
“But we want that to be a decisive meeting.
“I will ask Mr Masotti to give us three things in documentation form.
“The one would be to put the financial proposal on the table in clear terms, give us the strategy that you have spoken about that adds value to the franchise and tell us who the consortium is.
“So all that has ended with Masotti is the exclusivity period.”
It is believed that Province paid off their debt to Investec (R50m) and Remgro (R60m) after a deal with Flyt Property Investment Group in July after a deal with Investec to develop the Newlands Stadium site went south.
But it now emerges that the Flyt deal also has a few kinkels in die kabel, with Rasool saying: “The Flyt issue is going to be subjected to legal and actuarial scrutiny.”