Rugby memorabilia missing
Irreplaceable items from Border rugby’s past are nowhere to be found and help is needed to find them
The hallowed rugby ball that won the game for Border against the All Blacks in 1949 has vanished from its place of pride in the Border Rugby Union Stadium, now Buffalo City Metro stadium.
The ball is but one of many priceless items of memorabilia that have disappeared from the BRU's offices and its museum which were all housed at BCM stadium.
Trophies, jerseys, caps and photographs have all gone missing.
The memorabilia had been collected since the union's establishment in 1893.
The valuables were noticed missing by former Border Bulldogs CEO and general manager Syd Laubscher on Thursday.
This was shortly before BRU employees packed up and vacated the stadium.
The union could not afford to pay BCM the R90,000 monthly rent.
The union’s four employees, including administrator Basil Haddad, will now be working from their homes, confirmed union consultant and former commercial and marketing manager Akhona Mgijima.
Mgijima directed all questions to Haddad but Haddad’s phone rang unanswered on Thursday and Friday.
Laubscher said even former players and officials were in the dark about the whereabouts of the memorabilia.
Laubscher set up the union's museum in 2000. He said he was shocked to find it cleaned out with only plaques from the British Lions still attached to the walls.
“If anyone has taken the stuff for safekeeping, please return it to me so I can take it to the public museum,” he said.
Laubscher said the 1983 Border Cup trophy was also missing and all the jerseys taken from the touring British, French, All Blacks and Scottish Lions were gone.
“I had a discussion with Basil Haddad two months back when I heard a rumour that they were going to move out of the stadium. I wanted permission from him to take the memorabilia for safekeeping at the museum. On Thursday I heard they were going to move out so I went there early in the morning.”
“Basil Haddad said he had no idea about the memorabilia,” said Laubscher. He said even former Border players like Knights captain Johan le Roux and consultant Mgijima were in the dark.
“We went together with the gentlemen to get the stuff but it was not there,” said Laubscher.
Laubscher said: “All this memorabilia was kept in the offices and at the Border Bulldogs museum.
“Caps that were presented to players are missing as well as photographs.”
On Friday, Mgijima also appealed to the public to bring the memorabilia to him or Laubscher.
Mgijima is one of 26 union employees who were retrenched in December two months after the union was suspended by Saru from taking part in professional rugby.
The union's nine executive members were suspended earlier in September.
This was due to the union's financial woes. In April 2018, 24 players took the union to court over the failure to pay salaries but the union escaped litigation after BCM injected R800,000 to BRU.
Mgijima was retained as a consultant to ensure a “smooth transition”, he confirmed.
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