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SA Rugby officials appear before Human Rights Commission over alleged racism at Springboks match

11 February 2019 - 15:32 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
SA Rugby President Mark Alexander was part of the meeting.
SA Rugby President Mark Alexander was part of the meeting.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The SA Rugby appeared before SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Monday after a group of black Springbok fans reported alleged racial abuse during the Rugby Championship match between the Springboks and New Zealand last year.

But the details of the meeting have been classified as confidential.

SAHRC acting head of legal services Buang Jones confirmed that the meeting was attended by SA Rugby president Mark Alexander‚ chief executive Jurie Roux and Lunga Siyo‚ one the rugby fans who reported the matter to the Commission.

“The meeting went well between the parties but unfortunately we agreed that the details will be kept confidential until a later stage.

"There will be an announcement by SA Rugby later and we appeal to the public to respect the processes‚” said Jones.

Pressed on timelines‚ Jones said an announcement would be made in a few months’ time.

Roux referred all enquiries to the Commission when asked for comment.

Siyo took SA Rugby to the SAHRC after they were allegedly racially abused at Loftus during the Rugby Championship match between the Springboks and New Zealand in October last year.

They were also ridiculed as members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) because of the red jerseys they were wearing.

The fans were dressed in unique red special edition Springboks rugby jerseys that were commissioned by SA Rugby to mark the 25th anniversary of “rugby unity” in South Africa.

Siyo told TimesLIVE on Monday that he was happy with the way the meeting went.

“I am satisfied with the manner in which the meeting was conducted but unfortunately I can’t go into the details at this stage because we agreed on confidentiality for now‚" said Siyo‚ who is a practicing advocate by profession.

"My unpleasant experience and that of my friends and many other rugby fans around the country at rugby stadiums is well known and I hope that there will be a resolution in this matter.”

In the build-up to the meeting‚ Siyo said the matter was not about the identities of the two white men who racially abused them.

He said he wants SA Rugby to have proper protocols to deal with racial abuse issues effectively in the future.

“It is not about the identities of the people who said those things to us‚ my issue is that SA Rugby doesn’t have protocols to deal with these types of issues‚" he said.

"There are no mechanisms whatsoever and I am saying to SA Rugby that you have to do something about this because the environment at rugby stadiums has become increasingly antagonistic to black rugby fans around the country."