Human Rights Commission confirms it's taking Etzebeth to Equality Court over racial abuse claims

2019-10-02 12:36
Eben Etzebeth,

Eben Etzebeth, (Gallo)

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The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has confirmed it will "institute legal proceedings" against Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth in the Equality Court on Friday.

The Western Province rugby star has been accused of racially abusing a fellow patron at a pub in Langebaan in August.

Etzebeth is currently in Japan, where the Springboks are participating in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

He has denied the allegations, saying "[m]ultiple witnesses can corroborate that".

SAHRC spokesperson Buang Jones said as soon as a court date is confirmed, a way forward on the matter will be penned and announced. 

The Commission will also hold a mass public meeting in Langebaan on Thursday and will report back on progress made in dealing with the complaint against Etzebeth, Jones said.

He said the community had been "angry" about how the matter was handled by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and SAPS. 

"We [SAHRC] are going to address them, and they will raise all their concerns about racism in the area," Jones said. 

A docket containing statements regarding two counts of assault against Etzebeth was handed to the NPA, Rapport reported. 

The publication reported that the docket was initially sent back for further investigation, but later completed.

SA Rugby Union (Saru) spokesperson De Jongh Borchardt told News24 that the organisation's leadership was currently in Japan and not immediately available to comment owing to time differences. 

In a previous statement, Saru said it would cooperate with the investigation by authorities. It added that it will not "tolerate acts of violence or racial abuse" and that appropriate action will be taken once the investigation has concluded. 

"We trust and believe they (the NPA and SAHRC) will investigate it [the case] thoroughly. Once their findings are known, we will adhere to whatever is decided." 

Compiled by Sheldon Morais and Sesona Ngqakamba

Read more on:    human rights commission  |  eben etzebeth
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