Fired Zimbabwe rugby coach Peter de Villiers (PDV) was a dead-man walking ever since he crossed swords with the leadership Zimbabwe Rugby Union, a union board member has said, rubbishing the official claim that the former South Africa rugby coach was axed for unauthorised leave from work.
The former Springbok coach was suspended and later fired following a disciplinary hearing after he failed to return to work in Zimbabwe after a vacation last year.
de Villiers said the ZRU had “expelled” him for missing work while he was at his cancer-stricken daughter’s side, also claiming that his bosses had accused him of faking the fact that his daughter was ill.
A ZRU board member who spoke on condition of anonymity said the union had been looking for ways to part ways with de Villiers.
The board member believed that the incident in Tunisia in which the coach sided with his players was the final stroll in the breakdown of a relationship that was already at an all-time low.
“The Tunisia incident that saw the coach refuse substandard accommodation and slept outside in solidarity with his players which courted international media caused bad blood between the Executive Committee and the coach,” the board member said.
“In a normal African society which follows ubuntu there was no way that Peter would have been sacked for nursing his sick daughter but all this was overlooked because the powers that be wanted to see the back of de Velliers as soon as possible therefore overlooked those circumstances.
“Most people do not know this but the ZRU presidium had spoken to the Sables sponsor and wanted to even pay him off the remainder of his contract but this was resisted by the board because of the negative publicity it would bring to the rugby brand.”said the board member.
According to de Villiers’ dismissal letter dated 11 April 2019, the Disciplinary Authority recommended that de Villiers be dismissed because “He was found guilty of a serious offence, the misconduct goes to the root of the employment contract, in that the employee had repudiated his duty in giving the service to the employer.
“The employees own words during the hearing show that he was repudiating his contract. The employers sponsors lost funds in un-utilised air tickets due to the employee’s unreasonableness.
“The employers plans for international cups remained far more behind due to the employees absence” further stated de Velliers letter of dismissal.
In mitigation PDV, thought the charges were trivial and could be remedied by a written warning because the circumstances of his sick wife and daughter who is suffering from cancer, made it hard for him to be fulfil his duties at the time.
The Disciplinary Authority still found de Velliers guilty saying “the mitigation factors are outweighed by the aggravation factors.
In a statement detailing the penalty they said “the employee wanted to continue supporting his daughter at the expense of his job.”