Paul Zacks will vacate his position as Western Province Rugby chief executive on 31 January.
Speculation about Zacks’ departure from the union as been rife and on Monday it was confirmed that he has parted ways with WP Rugby by mutual consent.
‘The last four years have been an extremely challenging period for WP Rugby, both off and on the field, and having reached a point of more stability, it’s a natural time for someone else to come in and take up the reins with renewed energy and vigour,’ Zacks said.
‘I would like to thank the Chairman and the Board of Directors, the President of Western Rugby Football Union (WPRFU), Exco members, WP Rugby’s sponsors, commercial partners, the Faithful and especially the staff for their support during this time.’
Western Province Professional Rugby (WPPR) chairman Johan van der Merwe said: ‘We appreciate the professionalism with which Paul fulfilled his responsibilities over the past four years. Unfortunately, the pressure associated with the role has had a negative impact on Paul’s health, and we accept his decision to step down in light of this.’
Meanwhile, the president of Western Province Rugby Football Union, Zelt Marais, his executive committee and the board of directors of WPPR expressed their thanks to Zacks for his dedication to WP Rugby and wished him well in his future endeavours.
The severance of ties between Zacks and WP Rugby comes after ‘a number of adverse findings’ in the Section 417 final report pertaining to the liquidation of the union’s professional arm in 2016.
It is believed Zacks could even be pursued by the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) regarding ‘serious concerns/allegations of misconduct pertaining to evidence which was given under oath during the Section 417 enquiry’. One of the points from Judge Bertelsmann’s findings in the Section 417 final report states that Zacks’ testimony was ‘obviously untrue’.
The Section 417 enquiry was initiated by Aerios – the company at the centre of a multimillion-rand advertising rights dispute with WP Rugby – in August 2017. Aerios laid fraud-related charges against WP’s board of directors over alleged non-presentation of the liquidated professional arm’s ‘statement of affairs’.
An inquiry into the affairs of a bankrupt company can trace a company’s missing assets, or reveal misconduct by its directors.