SA Rugby (Saru) has officially parted ways with chief executive Jurie Roux following a long-standing legal battle with his former employers, Stellenbosch University.
Roux was found guilty of misallocating R37-million while serving his tenure in the finance department of the Stellenbosch University rugby club, Maties, from 2002 until 2010.
While Roux did not personally benefit from the misallocation of funds, he was found guilty of breaching his contract by manipulating the university’s computerised accounting system.
Roux subsequently lost the appeal against the arbitration ruling and was ordered to pay back the R37-million as well as the university’s legal costs — a case he continues to fight in the Western Cape High Court.
Roux’s position had thus become untenable for Saru and the pair agreed to part ways at the end of 2022.
The summons issued against Roux by Stellenbosch University occurred in 2015, while he was in his capacity as chief executive of Saru — meaning that Saru was unaware of Roux’s misdemeanours at Maties when he was hired in 2010.
‘Delivered only good service’
Despite being embroiled in a seven-year court case with Maties, “Jurie [Roux] delivered only good service to SA Rugby. It’s unfortunate that things beyond ours and his control have forced him to step down from Saru”, Saru president Mark Alexander told News24.
“Jurie agreed to step down in the interest of the game and the organisation. That takes leadership,” added Alexander.
Roux officially stepped down on 31 December 2022, according to the News24 report.
“He served the organisation for 12 years and he added significant value to SA Rugby during his tenure,” added Alexander.
“We must also look at what happened in 2016. In conjunction with the executive, when I took over, we crafted a strategic and turnaround plan for the organisation.
“And he was very key in crafting that plan. In 2016, we failed the transformation targets and came up with a strategic transformation plan and we see those results today. He was one of the drivers of that plan.”
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Alexander confirmed to News24 that Roux’s tenure exceeded the expectations placed on him.
“In the 12 years, I cannot fault him on the work he’s done,” Alexander said.
“He met and exceeded his KPIs (key performance indicators) during his SA Rugby tenure. He’s a true professional in what he does and he did good work for the organisation.
“He took the organisation out of that dark hole, the two worst periods in the history of rugby: in 2016 when we failed government transformation targets and corporate SA turned their backs on us and in 2020 during the pandemic.
“It was important for us to land on our feet. We turned it around and went on to win the World Cup (in 2019).”
Roux also ensured a successful British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 2021, during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, behind closed doors at DHL Stadium.
“You can look at the reflection on the field today and in our organisation around transformation,” added Alexander.
“There are still major strides to be made, but it’s a big change from what it was. Jurie and the staff have worked hard to turn the organisation around.
“Even in the things we are talking about, like private equity in our commercial rights space, where we compete in pounds, yen and euro, Jurie was a big part of that process.”
Saru confirmed to Daily Maverick that there are no current updates regarding the process of hiring a new chief executive but that an interim replacement can be expected. DM
The headline on this article was amended for accuracy following initial publication.