New twist in Eben Etzebeth saga
NEWS: World Cup-winning Springbok Eben Etzebeth’s infamous Langebaan incident is set to return to the Equality Court.
Bongani Majola, Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission confirmed to @rugby365com that the SAHRC and Etzebeth have agreed to withdraw the review application which was to be heard in the High Court in Pretoria.
“The case has been withdrawn [from the High Court] by mutual agreement,” Majola said, confirming that they are returning to the equality court, where it was first placed on the roll.
Etzebeth’s legal team had raised a technical point in the High Court, asking for clarification on certain issues.
That would have resulted in a protracted process.
“The parties agreed to pursue the merits of the complaints in the Equality Court, rather go through a protracted process [in the High Court] on technical issues,” the SAHRC Chairman told @rugby365com.
The magistrate in the equality court, who suspended the case, pending the finalisation of High Court review application, will now place the matter back on the roll and set a date.
However, there is no guarantee that it will go to trial.
“Sometimes parties can attempt to settle the matter, because it is less costly,” Majola said, adding: “The parties may attempt to negotiate a settlement.
“If the negotiation fails, they will go to [trial in] the equality court.”
Majola said he was not aware what the status of the criminal case is, or if there is an ongoing criminal case.
“This [equality court proceeding] has no effect on any criminal case.”
Etzebeth is not required to return from France, where he is playing for Toulon, to attend the hearing in the equality court.
His lawyers can argue the case on his behalf. He is only required to return if there is a criminal case, but he can choose to appear in person at the equality court should he wish to do so.
Etzebeth’s participation in the Springboks’ victorious World Cup campaign was called into doubt when he was accused of using racist slurs against four men in August, on the eve of South Africa’s departure for Japan.
He is also accused of allegedly insulting, assaulting and pointing a gun at a 42-year-old man.
Etzebeth, 27, has vehemently denied the claims that he was involved in an unsavoury incident in Langebaan.
The complainants, who are calling themselves the ‘Langebaan Four’, want financial compensation of over ZAR1-million (US$66,505) for damages.