SA Rugby must immediately recall Springbok player Eben Etzebeth and he must return to South Africa to answer to allegations against him, the Western Cape ANC said on Monday.
This comes as more claims emerge against him and a group of relatives and friends known as the “Wolf Pack”. It is alleged that they terrorised Langebaan.
The ANC’s provincial convener Lerumo Kalako said while it was proud of the Springbok’s performance thus far, the allegations indicated “abhorrent behaviour from someone who wears the national jersey”.
“We are confident that despite the opening match loss to [the] All Blacks, with each match, the team is getting more formidable in all aspects of the game. As the organisation, we want as little distraction as possible to the boys’ preparations for the coming games, hence when the incident about Eben Etzebeth broke out last week, we wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and give the team the peace of mind it needs to fight in the field,” Kalako said.
“Given the weekend revelations about Etzebeth from respectable members of his community of Langebaan about his ‘Wolf Pack’ gang that has been terrorising them and their business establishments for a long time, the thuggery, the racism and violence, letting him put on the colours of the national team, to represent the very South Africans he is terrorising would be too high a price to pay for our patriotism.”
The Sunday Times reported that among the allegations was an incident on New Year’s Eve when the rugby player allegedly headbutted someone at a Club Mykonos restaurant.
According to the SA Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) legal head, Buang Jones, a number of allegations have been made and some still needed to be verified.
Kalako called on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to investigate Etzebeth and the “Wolf Pack” and to “charge all of them and everyone who is linked to these small-town thugs”.
“Etzebeth and his gang are not above the law and the community deserves to see all these gangs in handcuffs and thrown in jail.”
On Friday, the SAHRC submitted a form to institute a hate speech case against Etzebeth in the Equality Court, sitting in Hopefield on the West Coast. It was acting in a representative capacity for the so-called “Langebaan Four”, who allege Etzebeth had used a racial slur against them.
They are looking for compensation of more than R1 million and orders directing Etzebeth to apologise, to undergo anger management and racial sensitivity training, and to do community service.
However, the Freedom Front Plus said the commission was supposed to do its job without favour, but Jones wanting to make an “example of Etzebeth” as he said at a public meeting in Langebaan on Thursday, showed he had already been convicted by the SAHRC before he was given the opportunity to defend himself.
Party leader Pieter Groenewald said last week the responsible approach expected from the commission was to allow Etzebeth to return after the Rugby World Cup and be given a fair opportunity to defend himself against the allegations.
“The SAHRC is supposed to defend the human rights of all South Africans, including those of Etzebeth. It is extremely irresponsible and unacceptable for the SAHRC to be openly biased by branding Etzebeth in advance in the media and at public meetings as guilty, as he has not yet been convicted and [is] therefore innocent until proven otherwise.”