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SA Rugby announced on Thursday that a new board to manage the affairs of the Southern Kings, featuring representatives of the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) as well as independent members, had been elected.

Mr Andre Rademan and Mr Bantwini Matika, respectively president and deputy president of the EPRU were elected along with attorney, Mr Shaheed Patel, chairman of the EPRU Finance Committee, to the newly constituted board of SA Super Rugby (Pty) Ltd.

The company had been set up to hold 100% of SA Rugby’s interest in the Vodacom Super Rugby franchise that had been awarded to the Southern Kings. The team currently plays in the Guinness PRO14, which place remains under the auspices of SA Super Rugby (Pty) Ltd.

Messrs Mtobi Tyamzashe, Gugu Nxiweni and Mxolisi Nkula were elected as independent directors. Charl Crous, as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Southern Kings, completes the composition of the board.

They replace the Executive Council of SA Rugby and SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux, who had had the custodianship of the franchise since being asked to take in November 2015.

The new board elected Mr Rademan as chairman and Mr Tyamzashe as deputy chairman.Mr Tyamzashe, currently Executive Chairman of Smart Grid Networks (Pty) Ltd, is a former COO of the South African Football Association; Mr Nxiweni, a qualified Chartered Accountant, is currently Executive Chairman of Improvate Group Companies; and Mr Nkula is a high school principal and PR Councillor on the Buffalo City Municipality.

“This marks another very important step towards normality for rugby in Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape,” said Mr Mark Alexander, president of SA Rugby.

“The EPRU executive has made good progress in regularising the affairs of the union. The restoration of their representation on the board of the Southern Kings is critical in aligning the strategic plan for rugby in the region.

“SA Rugby’s sole desire throughout a difficult period for rugby in the region has only ever been to restore the running of rugby back to the people of the Eastern Province. I am pleased to say that that process has moved a further step forward.”

The next step is the withdrawal of SA Rugby’s financial oversight of the Union’s affairs, after which the EPRU would have completed the return to normality with the restoration of its voting rights at the General Council.

“I am optimistic that the running of rugby in the Eastern Province will have been fully restored to local hands by the end of the month,” said Mr Rademan.

“The newly constituted board of the Southern Kings is a major step forward and I am sure the EPRU we will be able to fulfil all SA Rugby’s requirements to remove its financial oversight.

“The EPRU executive has already met the staff and coaches of the Kings on a new strategy for rugby in the region and we are excited about the ideas we have and look forward to sharing them with the public.”

Crous, who had been required to manage the Kings’ affairs in extraordinary circumstances since union involvement was terminated 27 months ago, said: “The Southern Kings have been operating in a bubble for far too long and this is a tremendous step forward. Franchises need alignment from schools to clubs to Currie Cup to Guinness PRO14 to be successful and now that linkage has been restored it can only be good news for the Kings and the rugby public of the Eastern Province.”

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