Former Western Cape premier and ex-South African ambassador to the United States, Ebrahim Rasool, has been appointed as chairman of the Western Province Rugby Football Union.
The WPRFU confirmed the appointment of Rasool, a former member of parliament and South African ambassador to the United States, as the new chairman of its board of directors following a board meeting on 4 September.
WPRFU president Zelt Marais conveyed the unanimous decision of the union – the shareholder – to the board of directors and announced that Rasool will commence his duties with immediate effect.
In a statement, Rasool spoke about his deep roots in non-racial rugby, his commitment to unity with transformation, and his love of WP Rugby.
‘It is a deep honour and an exceptional challenge to accept this post,’ he said. ‘The Western Cape is undoubtedly the cradle of rugby in South Africa, and we must nurture rugby from grassroots – the clubs and the schools – to the professional, the Stormers and our Springboks. But we must honour the whole history of rugby, from the very celebrated to those written out of rugby history.
‘But we can only thrive if we deliver value to all who are involved in the game, from investors and sponsors to the players and the very loyal rugby public or the region. I look forward to working closely with president Zelt Marais to ensure the sustainability and excellence of rugby in this region,’ he said.
Marais said that Rasool brings with him a wealth of experience, from his credentials in the struggle for justice, his exposure to various portfolios in government, his diplomatic experience in the USA, his academic expertise and his business acumen.
‘We are looking forward to harnessing the experience and networks of ambassador Rasool to the benefit of WP Rugby, and we are confident his appointment will help usher in an exciting era for WP Rugby. He is a rugby man through and through,’ Marais said.
Marais also thanked Rasool’s predecessor, Dr Johan van der Merwe, for his service to WP Rugby.
‘I want to personally thank Johan van der Merwe for leading the board through challenging times with aplomb, the commitment and dedication he brought to the job and, especially his leadership through this unprecedented crisis brought on by Covid-19. We look forward to continuing the work where he left off,’ he said.
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