Eben Etzebeth 'racism' case shouldn't be handled in embarrassing way: parliament

Eben Etzebeth. File photo
Eben Etzebeth. File photo
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

The Eben Etzebeth “racism” investigation should not distract the Springboks as they participate at the Rugby World Cup.

This is the view of parliament's portfolio committee on sports, arts and culture after allegations that Etzebeth racially abused a homeless man during a night out in the Western Cape.

Etzebeth denied the claim, but the SA Human Rights Commission said it would institute legal proceedings against Etzebeth in the equality court on Friday, after receiving a complaint in August.

Committee chairperson Beauty Dlulane said the matter was sensitive and needed to be handled with care. She said if there were grounds for prosecution, that ought to be decided by competent bodies after a rigorous process of establishing what had happened.

“Running commentary in the media, especially given the seriousness of what Mr Etzebeth is alleged to have done, will not solve anything.

“Everyone has an opinion on the matter, but the time is for the right bodies to find the facts of the matter and act accordingly,” Dlulane said.

She said the matter could have been handled differently and SA Rugby and the Human Rights Commission should improve on dealing with matters of this nature.

“The approach in handling these matters should be corrective and not what appears to be a media embarrassment of Mr Etzebeth and distraction to South Africa’s participation at the World Cup,” Dlulane said.

She said the committee had noted how SA Rugby was dealing with the issue and the steps it had followed.

She added that the committee was concerned about the time that has passed since the alleged incident.