Let counsel at the presidents

The investigation into rugby’s bosses must go ahead regardless of the pending national presidential elections, writes Keo, because it will put the game’s leadership under the microscope and not just one individual.

How can an election determine the merits of an investigation into alleged irregularities within the South African Rugby Union leadership? In the last week the majority of reports have suggested that if incumbent SARU president Brian van Rooyen stands down then there won’t be an investigation into the supposedly numerous charges that he faces in the pending investigation into the management of South African rugby.

Whether Van Rooyen is re-elected or Oregan Hoskins proves to be the missionary man should have nothing to do with the investigation. If rugby’s office bearers want to clean up the game, then all of them must be accountable to the stakeholders, which include the sponsors, the investors and the paying public. Rugby is not rotten because of one president and it will not be clean because of one president.

The stink in rugby has been around for a long time and it won’t go away because Van Rooyen wins or loses the election. Van Rooyen was the toast of the South African media two years ago when they looked for a scapegoat in Silas Nkanunu. Now Hoskins is the saviour that is needed to clean up the image. The rugby media’s memory is as good as Richie McCaw’s was when Richard Bands ran over him a season ago. Their accountability is about as obvious as McCaw’s vision was that night in Pretoria.

The mainstream media have already backed their horse. The Sunday Times want Hoskins in because it claims the game needs what Hoskins is, which according to the publication is ‘diplomatic and smooth talking’.

The Rapport wants Hoskins in because it wants Van Rooyen out. The publication whose back page of two years ago asked its readers to drink a glass of champagne to the appointment of Van Rooyen, has for the last year told its readers the man must go.

Both, I believe, miss the point. It is not about Van Rooyen or Hoskins, but about the president’s council that determines the decision-making in South African rugby. It is this president’s council that is under investigation, as much as Van Rooyen.

If there is no investigation into Van Rooyen, then there will be no investigation into the alleged irregular business practice of other members of the president’s council – members who have been nominated for senior positions in the game’s administration.

This is not a time to be selective about the criminal or the crime. Both must be judged accordingly.

The leadership of the game, which includes the leader and all his deputies, must be put in the dock and be put under cross examination. All of them in one room, under one roof and under the same oath. All of them asked to the same questions …

It would be theatre and it would be the only way to separate fact from fiction.