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New faces to take WP forward

The newly-elected Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) president Zelt Marais ousted Springbok selector Peter Jooste when the union elected their new office bearers on Monday 26 November.

Helderberg local Reuben Riffel narrowly lost out to Moeneeb Levy for the deputy president position, but was re-elected as an executive member for a second term at the 27th annual general meeting of WPRFU.

Spencer King was elected, unopposed, as the new vice-president following the suspicious suspension of contesting executive member Ronald Bantom on Monday, in the build-up to the evening’s elections.

An ongoing disciplinary hearing, which apparently involves Bantom and one of the Vuka rugby programme officials, will take place in the coming weeks.

Senior sport manager at Maties Rugby Club Quintin van Rooyen, who resides in the basin, was elected as one of the new faces on the WP executive committee. Van Rooyen has an impeccable CV that ensures he is more than capable of handling and managing whichever portfolio allocated to him with the greatest of professionalism and ease.

Riffel, who has been one of this region’s strongest and longest-serving senior administrators, can count himself unfortunate to lose out on the deputy president position.

It leaves a rather bitter-sweet taste in his supporters’ mouths as, despite Levy’s capabilities, they feel Riffel is the man who should occupy the seat. “It feels like we will be shunted aside once again and we will have to fight even harder to make our voices heard,” said a chairperson of a Helderberg rugby club when asked to comment on his feeling of Riffel’s omission from the top-three spots. “Riffel has played an integral part in the success that most of the clubs in the Helderberg are experiencing. We will now have to wait another four to six years before our region can be taken seriously.”

Helderberg is one of the furthest region within the union and its clubs have done brilliantly with the likes of St George’s, Helderberg, Sir Lowrians, All Saints and Macassar all playing in the top flight.

Riffel has been an amazing asset not only to the region’s clubs, but to all clubs throughout the union and he is often spotted at a club rugby match, mingling and sitting among the masses on any given Saturday in season.

This can be viewed as his way of knowing what are the challenges and issues that clubs face daily, which were often not seen by other executive committee members in the past.

Each club just needs to feel that their vote – each club gets one vote per club per position – did not go to waste and that all clubs, no matter area, socio-economic or league status, are taken seriously and are given a proper platform to be assisted.

This has, without a doubt, been the plight of Riffel and Van Rooyen, but only time will tell which route the new dispensation will take in leading the union, which has recently been in the news for various issues, including the alleged mismanagement of finances.

V The WPRFU Executive Committee is as follows: Zelt Marais (president); Moneeb Levy (deputy president); and Spencer King (vice-president). Additional members: Peter Jooste; Nadeema Khan; Kevin Kiewietz; Junaid Moerat; Reuben Riffel; Quintin van Rooyen; Mario Williams; and Anele Zita.

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