Cape Town, the Mother City, is renowned for her tranquility and the purity of her environment, but beneath the veneer there is probably as much devious wheeler-dealing as anywhere else in the country.
I say this because of the politics and individual agendas that have been going on in Western Cape sport for some time, proving that although Cape Town may feel like it is on another continent, the other side of Table Mountain experiences similar problems to the rest of the country.
The sport’s body that is putting out the most fires at the moment is probably the South African Rugby Union, based in Plattekloof, and it all starts at the top with the CEO, Jurie Roux.
Saru president Oregan Hoskins had to issue a statement on Friday stating that Roux wasn’t appointed back in 2010 with any cloud hanging over him. The Stellenbosch University allegations of financial impropriety against Roux are, in my opinion, opportunistic and stem from a long-running feud within Maties rugby itself.
I have been assured by other leading rugby administrators that Roux certainly wasn’t the only university administrator to allegedly divert funds in order to obtain top players. I am sure, based on the ugly power struggle raging behind the scenes in Stellenbosch rugby circles, that there are two sides to this particular story and perhaps those accusing the Saru CEO of all sorts of things should allow him to defend himself in a court of law.
But the battle to defend their CEO, and at the same trying to make sure that the Southern Kings are not a complete disaster in Super Rugby, is certainly distracting them from what should be their most pressing commitment at the moment and that is finding the new Springbok coach.
Rassie Erasmus is now the favourite but while I am sure the former Springbok loose forward has the technical and strategic skills for the job, the national coach’s position is about so much more than just the on-field training and preparation.
It’s also about handling the media and the voracious television demands, as well as meeting the expectations when it comes to the key area of transformation.
Erasmus has had a cocoon around him in the Saru offices, quietly and efficiently getting on with his work as a director of rugby type figure, and there have been suggestions that whoever will be assisting him with the Springbogs (Johan van Graan is one probability) will front up for the media and PR duties.
This would be totally unacceptable. Only a little less unacceptable is the suggestion that Saru will only make an interim appointment.
The Springbok coach has a position of enormous responsibility and, unlike so many leadership positions in this country, there needs to be accountability to the public. Heyneke Meyer may have failed to bring home the World Cup and perhaps struggled to grasp transformation imperatives, but kudos to him, one could never accuse him of not fronting up and trying to explain himself.
Cape Town is a beautiful place, but she hides many things and Erasmus will not be able to hide away if he wants to be Springbok coach.
Otherwise the fairest Cape has another coach she has watched grow and who has handled often antagonistic media in a mature and effective way and that is Allister Coetzee.