Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth 'not complicit in' racism and assault: report
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has been found not guilty of either racism or assault, Rapport reported on Sunday.
This was the finding of former Judge Johann van der Westhuizen after an internal investigation into an altercation in Langebaan in the Western Cape ahead of the Rugby World Cup. The Springbok rugby player had been accused of racism and using derogatory language.
Asked to confirm the accuracy of the report, Andy Colquhoun, SA Rugby’s general manager for communications, told TimesLIVE on Sunday evening: “Actually, I know that Rapport were running a story on the matter earlier in week, weren't they? So what we said to them — I don't know if they carried it — was that this was a matter between an employer and employee and it's [protected] by confidentiality.
“So we have got nothing say on the matter. We wanted to preserve that confidentiality.”
According to Rapport, van der Westhuizen made the following findings:
- There are no grounds to proceed with a case against Etzebeth;
- SA Rugby has been advised to meet Etzebeth to discuss what consequences the actions of other people can have for him and how it can put him in a bad light; and
- SA Rugby must have meetings with all Springboks to discuss this issue and how people close to them can negatively affect them in the future.
Etzebeth’s lawyer Andre Calitz, speaking to Rapport, welcomed the ruling. He said his client had never pleaded guilty to defamation or assault, and has always maintained his innocence.
The Human Rights Commission case into the incident is still pending, and the National Prosecuting Authority is also still investigating.