Villagers Rugby Club has claimed that Western Province have not consulted them over recent developments regarding their Brookside home. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) on Wednesday announced that its clubs had voted in majority to approve Flyt Property as a development partner.
According to a statement released by the WPRFU, this was with regard to the redevelopment of both Newlands Stadium and Brookside – which has been home to Villagers since 1937.
The WPRFU council also approved a proposal that another new company be incorporated between the WPRFU and Flyt Property Group, called Brookside DevCo.
According to the statement, this new company will purchase the Brookside property and its purpose will be to develop that property as a mixed-use development.
The major concern from Villagers’ side relates to an earlier agreement between the club and Western Province. As part of a proposed partnership between the WPRFU and private-school group Generation Schools, Western Province insisted that Villagers insert an amendment in their lease of Brookside so that the B and C fields would be freed to allow Generation Schools to build a new campus on the property.
In return, it was agreed that there would be five improvements made to the Brookside property leased to Villagers, the most important of which was the upgrading of the main field to an artificial pitch. This was especially important because all of Villagers’ rugby teams would be training on the single A field – which would have to be upgraded to withstand the increased traffic.
However, while the partnership between Generation Schools and the WPRFU fell through, Villagers claim they have still not heard back from the rugby union over whether the addendum to their lease of Brookside has been signed and agreed to by Flyt Property.
Anton Chait – who served as president of Villagers between 2018 and 2019 – was integral to the addendum of the lease and told SARugbymag.co.za that he has tried to contact the WPRFU, but to no avail.
‘To date, I signed that lease on 18 September 2018. The club has not had a response to various requests for the signed copy to be returned,’ Chait said.
‘To this date, we don’t know if that addendum has ever been signed. So I have been writing emails, sending WhatsApp messages, phoning in the last two weeks since we got the notice of this meeting to make sure that our rights are protected.
‘When I say we haven’t been consulted, I don’t know if those five improvements have been disclosed to Flyt properly and whether they are aware that they are going to have to factor that into their development costs. An artificial pitch can cost R10 million.
‘We had not been shown a development proposal. With Generation Schools, you knew exactly what they were doing. They were organised, real and serious about it. The fact that they couldn’t come to terms with a dysfunctional union like Western Province – where they didn’t know who they were dealing with – was a problem. That’s why I think the deal fell flat.’
This website has approached Western Province for comment and is awaiting feedback.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images