Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) deputy president Bantwini Matika tendered his resignation on Monday amid allegations of gross misconduct levelled at him by the union.
Matika and two other EPRU officials, vice president Eldridge “Chico” Februarie and consultant John Scheepers are being investigated for allegedly attempting to defraud the provincial union of over R450 000.
Both Matika and Februarie were influential in ousting former EP president Cheeky Watson as part of the “Transformation Rugby Coalition” and were subsequently elected to serve on the board of the amateur union along with current president Andre Rademan in 2017.
On Monday, following a detailed report in Sunday weekly Rapport, Matika opted to step down with immediate effect but the investigation was still ongoing and the accused could face criminal charges. Retired Justice Lex Mpati was last week appointed to lead the investigation, the report said.
Letters, seen by Sport24, were sent to the three accused EP officials last week, notifying them of the province’s intention to suspend them. The three had until noon on Monday to provide written reasons as to why they should not be suspended.
Eastern Province released a statement on Monday confirming Matika’s resignation.
“This serves to inform all clubs affiliated to Eastern Province Rugby Union that a letter of resignation was received from the deputy president Bantwini Matika,” read the statement, which was signed by Rademan.
Matika, who took on the Southern Kings executives over their appointment of Nick Mallett as a consultant last year, said he was unable to comment on the allegations levelled against him as the matter was still sub judice.
However, he said his resignation had “nothing to do with the investigation.”
“I can’t comment at this stage, only to confirm that he did resign,” said Rademan.