Thelo: Why I suspended stadium talks

Mon, 03 Feb 2014 12:55
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Public statements by Grant Pascoe resulted in the suspension of talks between the city and the WPRFU over the use of the Cape Town stadium.

Public statements by mayoral committee member Grant Pascoe has resulted in the suspension of talks between the city and the Western Province Rugby Football Union over the possible relocation to and use of the Cape Town Stadium.

WPRFU President Thelo Wakefield confirmed to this website that he suspended talks with the City of Cape Town over a possible move to Cape Town Stadium.

There was to have been a three-day workshop this week at which such talks would have taken place.

However, the workshop has been cancelled and all talks suspended.

This, according to Wakefield, is because Pascoe made certain public statements.

According to reports in the Cape Town media Pascoe, the mayoral committee member for tourism, events & marketing at the City of Cape Town, said it was no secret that technical teams from the city and the WPTFU were in talks.

"I have suspended talks with the City Council, because of a statement that was made - or that was supposed to have been made - by Grant Pascoe in the media, where Pascoe said there was talks taking place behind the scenes," Wakefield told this website in an interview.

"I don't approve of any talks behind the scenes."

The WPRFU boss said he has to keep the various stakeholders informed of any developments.

"The stakeholders are the member clubs of the union [WPRFU], who are the owners of Newlands first of all," Wakefield said, adding: "Secondly I need to think of the suite holders, that we need to inform them from time to time where we are and what we are doing.

"And we have season ticket holders that are regarded as very important stakeholders, together with the suite holders.

"We have sponsors, we have a commercial partner and we have the general public.

"So any dealings we have with the city council in terms of a possible - note it is a POSSIBLE - relocation to the Cape Town Stadium should be above board."

The WPRFU President said the integrity of the Cape Town city council as well as that of the WPRFU executive committee and the people who are engaged in the talks must be above board and must be beyond reproach at all times.

"I will not engage Western Province, nor I will not be party to, any behind the scenes talks as far as the future of Newlands is concerned. I can't play with the future of Newlands.

"Newlands is much bigger than Thelo Wakefield and whomever else is involved."

He made it very clear that he must keep the process transparent and open.

He said the ball is now in Pascoe's court.

"He must explain to his superiors what he meant by 'behind the scenes talks'.

"As far as I am concerned and as far as the [WPRFU] executive is concerned, the talks have been suspended.

"The workshop is [called] off and the ball is in their court to come clean and say: 'It is a mistake' or 'I used the wrong word' or whatever, but at this stage until we have an answer in that regard we won't speak to the city council at all.

"I am adamant about it and I don't care what they say about me, that is it.

"As far as I am concerned these talks, or negotiations, or whatever they want to call it, must be above board at all times.

"I need to consider my stakeholders and my integrity is important."

By Jan de Koning