Where to from here for embattled Eben Etzebeth?

05 November 2019 - 11:55 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Eben Etzebeth of South Africa celebrates after winning the Rugby World Cup final against England at International Stadium Yokohama on November 2 2019 in Yokohama, Japan.
Eben Etzebeth of South Africa celebrates after winning the Rugby World Cup final against England at International Stadium Yokohama on November 2 2019 in Yokohama, Japan.
Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will continue with the hate speech complaint against Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth, it announced on Monday.

Etzebeth returns to SA this week after winning the Rugby World Cup in Japan on Saturday.

Etzebeth has been accused of physically and racially abusing four people during an altercation outside a pub in Langebaan, in the Western Cape. The four alleged victims are suing Etzebeth for R1m.

The SAHRC on Monday said that it would continue with the hate speech complaint against Etzebeth, and will file the documents as well as records at the Gauteng High court, the SABC reported.

This despite Etzebeth's lawyers previous attempts to have the matter reviewed.

SAHRC chairperson Bongani Christopher Majola told News24, that the decision by the commission to file the documents in the high court came after Etzebeth told the court that the commission was biased and irrational in taking his matter to the Equality court.

Hear from the players: 

Majola also said the documents motivated the commission's decision to take the matter to the Equality Court.

Etzebeth will have 10 days to study the documents submitted by the commission, and to decide if he wants to make any amendments.

Etzebeth's inclusion in the Rugby World Cup squad was met with public outcry, but SA Rugby boss Mark Alexander said the organisation could not risk suspending him as he had not been found guilty of the alleged racial abuse and assault, TimesLIVE reported.

“We can't just suspend the player. What if it transpires in a few weeks that the player is actually innocent? He can take us to the cleaners. We have to protect the organisation.”

SA Rugby has started an internal investigation into allegations that Eben Etzebeth racially abused a homeless man in Langebaan, Western Cape in late August 2019.


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