Bring the Boks back, says EP Rugby GM after angry residents padlock offices following parade no-show

EPRU general manager Thando Manana and the union's president Andre Rademan address northern area community leaders, Chief Khoi Mo and former ANC MPL Christian Martin, about disappointment around the Bok tour of Nelson Mandela Bay.
EPRU general manager Thando Manana and the union's president Andre Rademan address northern area community leaders, Chief Khoi Mo and former ANC MPL Christian Martin, about disappointment around the Bok tour of Nelson Mandela Bay.
Image: Zizonke May

The Springboks should return to Nelson Mandela Bay on an apology tour.

That was the call from EP Rugby Union (EPRU) general manager Thando Manana.

HeraldLIVE reported that Manana was speaking at a meeting at the EPRU offices on Monday, addressing concerned members of Port Elizabeth’s northern areas who used a padlock to lock officials out of their offices as they demanded to know why the #SpringboksTour had bypassed the northern areas.

After Manana and federation president Andre Rademan arrived at the offices, former ANC MPL Christian Martin unlocked the gate so they could have a meeting.

Earlier on Monday, Martin said had he had bought the padlock and personally locked the gate in protest over the Boks' no-show in the northern areas.

Sharing the same frustration as the larger Port Elizabeth community, Manana said there should be a rerun of the #SpringbokTour.

“Most of my rugby clubs are from the northern areas and the Uitenhage area. There should be a rerun, even if it is with a third of the Springbok team, to do an apology tour. Many hearts have been broken,” Manana said.

Manana said this time the Boks should also give out autographs.

“We cannot sit and point fingers. We need to find solutions and give them suggestions. The organising committee needs to pay for the many young dreams that were deferred yesterday,” he said.

Rademan emphasised that the rugby union would not take any blame for the Springboks' no-show in KwaNobuhle, Rosedale, the northern areas and on William Moffett, saying the federation was not part of the team that organised the parade.

Rademan said after the #SpringbokTour schedule was released, he had received calls from  people raising their concerns that the northern areas were not on the schedule.

“I discussed this with my GM, who then attended a meeting with the department of sports and recreation, and there we asked that the northern areas be included.

“We also requested that certain parts of Uitenhage — Kamesh and those places —  be included. We asked this as the union, although we were not included in the arrangements.

“The department of sports, recreation, arts and culture and the metro’s Charmaine Williams were the parties involved in that,” Rademan said, adding that Manana was only part of two meetings that were held by invitation.

Although all role players did a good job, the route could have been planned better, Rademan said.

“As the custodian rugby union in the Eastern Cape, we need to be treated likewise. We should be directly involved in all rugby matters and not sidelined. We were not involved and therefore we will not accept responsibility for the route cuts,” Rademan said.

Rademan said people should direct their frustrations to the municipality and lock down their offices.

“SARU got the players here, they organised the buses, their duties were done and it was up to the metro to plan the routes.”

However, Rademan said he wanted to apologise to their supporters for the unfortunate experience.

He said a lesson that could be learnt from this was that EPRU should be directly involved in rugby matters and not just allowed to attend two meetings.

Rademan said the rugby union had sent out three requests to SARU, one of which was to have a rerun of the tour. SARU responded immediately, saying it was not possible.

The other suggestion was to bring the Boks to the stadium or to have a tour of the areas that the tour missed when the Boks played their next Test match in the city.

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