The ques­tions around Jurie Roux won’t go away

CityPress - - Sport - Dan Retief Fol­low me on Twit­ter @retief­dan

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.

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