The questions around Jurie Roux won’t go away
The one piece of “news” that came out of the deliberations of the SA Rugby Union (Saru) around their embattled CEO, Jurie Roux, was widely accepted as a sop to the prying press.
Roux, it was said (in a story broken by Rapport’s Hendrik Cronje and also carried in City Press a week ago) had been “punished” by being removed from his lead role in the process to pick a new Springbok coach.
Instead of Roux sifting through the candidates and putting forward to the high-performance committee the names of those, in his opinion, who were best qualified, he was allegedly removed from the body.
Most accepted this as a lame gesture by the executive that they were doing something about “Juriegate.”
However, in my cynical mind, I wondered whether there was perhaps a deeper reason. Could it have been a pointer that Saru’s executive were concerned about some incidents under Roux’s stewardship? Were they perhaps removing him from a position in which some irregularities had occurred? My mind went back to one of those calls we journos often receive.
A “contact” called to give me a tip-off, but typically could not provide any verification of his allegations or allow himself to be identified.
It was in 2013, just after the Maties rugby club’s former coach Chean Roux had, from left field, been elevated into Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok coaching group as the performance analyst. His appointment (as far as I could ascertain, he is no relation of Jurie Roux) was unexpected, and my caller put an intriguing spin on it.
“You know why Heyneke gave Chean a job?” he enquired. Naturally, I was interested.
“It was a trade-off. Heyneke desperately wanted to get Fourie du Preez back from Japan, but Du Preez is very expensive – especially the insurance Saru would have to pay to [his club] Suntory Sungoliath.
“So Jurie cut a deal with Heyneke. ‘I’ll give you Fourie if you give me Chean.’”
It seemed too far-fetched to follow up, but my curiosity was again pricked later that year when something else most odd occurred. Two players, Lourens Adriaanse and Louis Schreuder, were out of the blue selected to go on the Springboks’ northern hemisphere tour.
Both had Maties connections and, again, there was the intimation that Jurie Roux might have influenced their selections – especially when it emerged they were both on the books of one Chris de Beer – Roux’s successor as chairperson of the Stellenbosch Rugby Club.
De Beer worked with, and after, Roux as a financial officer at the university and was implicated in the financial improprieties that allegedly occurred.
These are oddities, and it is strange that Saru has not demanded they be investigated.
Did Jurie get his friend Chean a well-paid job? Did he cause players to be picked in the Springbok team? Surely answers are required. Equally, what about the serious allegations made by Graeme Joffe against Saru vice-president Mark Alexander? Joffe claimed Alexander had been favoured with payments to benefit a leading marketing company that does business with Saru.
Alexander, as far as I know, has not taken legal action against Joffe – so Joffe might be right. But Saru seems unconcerned about a possible blot on the name of one of their top officials.
Why did president Oregan Hoskins come out in support of Roux’s reappointment for a period of five years when he was aware of the allegations against the latter contained in audit firm KPMG’s damning report? Is that not also something questions should be asked about?
Was an exit interview done with Meyer when he left? We know Saru failed to even speak to Jake White and Peter de Villiers, but surely there must be some key things Saru would want to know from Meyer?
Was Jurie Roux, when he was at Stellenbosch, no more than some sort of corporate Robin Hood who diverted funds to the financially struggling rugby club to keep Maties as strong as they were in the past?
If he had, is that not a flaw in his perception of corporate governance that Saru should be investigating?
It is no good for the administrators of rugby to cower behind their impenetrable PR wall and provide no answers, because the questions will not go away.