It’s 2017 but Apartheid in South African rugby is alive and well.
At least that’s what Thando Manana, a former Springboks flanker and tourist, believes.
In a fiery column for sarugbymag.co.za, he writes that the South African Rugby Union (Saru) has created a rugby “Bantustan”.
Bantustans was the black-only territories set aside by the Apartheid government.
“The creation of a parallel structure is so flawed it is borderline racist,” Manana wrote.
“The governing body is keeping democratically elected Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) executives in charge of club rugby, taking away their voting rights and effectively removing them from mainstream rugby.”
What he’s referring to is the Saru’s continued control of the EPRU’s senior professional teams.
The local governing body placed the union under administration in February 2016 and was eventually liquidated that August.
However, following a special general meeting in February this year, Saru announced that the EPRU would be able to select it’s own office bearers again.
But that process has been controversial.
“The new executive board of the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) took office on 8 April. But is still not in charge of professional rugby, because SA Rugby has not handed over control of the Kings franchise and EP Kings Currie Cup team,” wrote Manana.
“The executive is therefore only in charge of club rugby in the province.”
The 39-year-old alleges Saru’s motives amount to nothing for than greed and racism.
“(Saru) is under serious financial pressure. It needs to make money for itself, and identified the recent Springbok Test against Argentina in Port Elizabeth and the Kings’ admission to Europe’s Pro14 as an opportunity to achieve this,” Manana noted.
“Secondly, Saru is protecting the white staff members it put in charge of the EPRU, including the incompetent Charl Crous, who ran EP Rugby (Pty) Ltd into the ground. The same Crous, who was chief operating officer when no financials were produced for years, contravening SA Rugby constitutional clauses.”
Talking of constitutional clauses, it’s also notable that Saru could be flouting its own rule of governance currently.
“Clause 28.6 of SA Rugby’s constitution clearly states that it will not allow an election to take place if an organisation is under administration. Yet elections took place at the EPRU in April with the blessing of SA Rugby.
“There is an executive in place, so why is SA Rugby still in charge of the union?,” Manana wrote.