Why does nobody care about Jurie Rouxgate?
As an investigative journalist, I’ve often been accused of focusing exclusively on so-called black corruption. The critics conveniently ignore the reams of exposés written over the years about Jurgen Harksen, Glenn Agliotti, Gavin Watson, Dave King, Tony Georgiades, Marietjie Prinsloo and Barry Tannenbaum, to name but a few pale wrongdoers.
The latest name to be added to this hall of shame is that of Jurie Roux, CEO of the SA Rugby Union (Saru).
I’ve been astounded by the absence of a public outcry over our revelations, published on Netwerk24 over the past few months.
My favourite sports minister, Fikile Mbalula, has also been dead quiet on the matter, even after I prompted him on Twitter (yes, he has unblocked me).
Why is there no national outcry about the very serious allegations contained in a thick KPMG forensic report that the country’s rugby boss siphoned off R35 million from Stellenbosch University to fund the Maties rugby club? And this in a time of #FeesMustFall. Here’s a short history of the story so far. Before being appointed the chief executive of Saru, Roux was financial director at the university. At the same time, he was the president of the Maties rugby club. In 2010, Roux left the university after being appointed at the rugby union. We now know that an outside recruitment company appointed Roux and he was never interviewed by Saru’s executive committee or presidents’ council.
Then the information emerged that the university’s financial systems had allegedly been bypassed to move money to the rugby club. The university appointed KPMG to conduct a forensic audit into the matter.
At the end of 2013, the audit firm handed over its final report to the university.
It painted a shocking picture of a rogue senior executive, Roux, who used the university’s reserve funds like they were his own piggy bank.
KPMG found that between 2002 and 2012, about R21 million was irregularly transferred from the university’s reserve funds to the rugby club. A further R14 million was irregularly spent on various expenses.
In email correspondence uncovered by KPMG, Roux referred to these monies as “sparries”, presumably a reference to “savings money”, or “spaargeld” in Afrikaans.
In a separate email to his colleague Chris de Beer, the former deputy head of student fees, Roux wrote he would one day win the Euro lotto “and pay back millions”. De Beer was fired by the university in 2012. Payments were made to Maties players such as Peter Grant, Juan de Jongh and Ernst Joubert.
On receipt of the forensic report, the university obtained legal advice and did three things: they reported the case to the Hawks; instituted a civil claim against Roux for R32 million in the Western Cape High Court; and filed an insurance claim for damages suffered through fraudulent behaviour. The Hawks are still investigating the case, Roux is opposing the civil claim and the university’s insurer is considering the claim.
Two weeks ago, we revealed that KPMG performed a supplementary investigation after being provided with a memorandum from the university’s council with fresh allegations against Roux. This time, the allegations included self-enrichment.
KPMG found that Roux and De Beer were directors of Stellar Africa Rugby, a sports management agency that had Maties rugby players as clients. These players would receive bursaries from the university (courtesy of Roux and De Beer) and then pay commissions to Stellar.
KPMG recommended that Stellenbosch University obtain Roux’s bank accounts through the SA Police Service to determine whether he had benefited financially from the scheme.
In 2014, Saru asked the university for a copy of the KPMG report to consider taking steps against him. After agreeing not to show Roux a copy of the report, Saru gave it to Roux and asked him to respond.
Saru president Oregan Hoskins said at the time: “All I can say is that Jurie Roux is an outstanding CEO of Saru, who, among other things, has been rigorous in ensuring that the highest standards of corporate governance have been applied in our organisation. He continues to enjoy our full confidence and support.”
Hoskins has now made an about-turn and is pushing for Roux’s suspension. He was outvoted by the country’s rugby bosses, which prompted Hoskins to offer his resignation.
A compromise was reached that Saru would obtain a final legal report on the Roux saga, which would be binding.
Basson is editor in chief of Netwerk24