SARU Reaches for Efficiency

A more efficient and streamlined South African Rugby Union (SARU) was unveiled to rugby stakeholders by Jurie Roux, the organisation’s CEO, at the announcement of a major operational overhaul in Johannesburg on Thursday.

SARU’s governance and operational departments have been radically re-engineered in the space of 18 months to complete the transformation of the organisation’s way of doing business, said Roux.

The new shape of SARU will become effective on September 1 when the number of departments in SARU’s Cape Town head office will be reduced from 16 to just seven.

“We believe we are one of South Africa’s leading sporting federations – both on and off the field – but we’ve taken the hand brake off now,” Roux told media, sponsors and other stakeholders at a presentation at Montecasino. “We’re poised to take rugby to the next level.

“SARU has been able to deliver a robust financial performance, healthy competitions and, most importantly, winning Springbok and Springbok Sevens teams, but there have been challenges – most of them behind the scenes.

“It’s fair to say that the organisation laboured because of a confusing network of overlapping responsibilities and blurred reporting lines due to the separation between a professional and amateur arm.

“Those obstacles have now been eradicated and we now have a much leaner, cleaner and simpler structure.”

Roux said that the dissolving of the commercial arm – SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd – back into SARU at the beginning of 2010 had been the catalyst for the major operational re-design.

“SARU’s 14 member unions simplified the governance structure by creating an Executive Council (Exco) to effectively take the place of the Board, Management Committee (Manco) and President’s Council,” said Roux.

“When I was appointed as CEO of the new single entity in October I was charged with completing the restructuring of the operational organisation. That process has been on-going for the past ten months and is now complete.

“We have consolidated our responsibilities of developing, promoting and managing the game of rugby on behalf of the 14 unions and all South Africans into seven core functions. Each department is now developing very specific and measurable targets for performance against which they will be judged.”

The newly rationalised departments are:
High Performance Teams – Management and preparation of all elite national teams, their support staff, selectors and scouts. Liaison with players and SARPA as well as brand management of teams.
Development – Growing and transforming participation and performance of the game while making it safer.
Commercial Marketing – Attracting and retaining sponsors while marketing and strategically managing SARU’s consumer-facing brands – such as events and competitions. In addition, the management of broadcasting contracts, SARU events and merchandise.
Referees – Identifying, training and developing refereeing talent in South Africa – to support both the professional game and the development game at schools, varsity and club rugby level.
Operations and Finance – Providing corporate support services in finance, travel, legal affairs and IT.
Human Resources – Acquiring, developing and retaining the staff with competencies that support the operational strategy and culture of SARU.
Corporate Affairs – Reputation management of the corporate entity of SARU, including media and other stakeholder relationships. Management of SARU heritage and CSI programmes.

Roux said that a number of positions in the new structure remained to be filled, following a process of internal recruitment, but that the new structure would be fully operational from September 1.

“These are exciting times for South African rugby,” he said. “It has been a challenging process for our staff and one that has not always been easy, but we come out of it a far more focused organisation one determined to ensure that our iconic teams remain an inspiration to all South Africans.”