VIDEO: SARU reacts to Etzebeth drama
REACTION: The South African Rugby Union has reacted swiftly to calls from a political group for Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth to be axed and arrested for assault.
Etzebeth, 27, has vehemently denied the claims that he was involved in an unsavoury incident in Langebaan at the weekend.
The accusations against Etzebeth – based on a grainy and dark video that shows very little – suggested he had assaulted and pointed a gun at a homeless man in the West Coast town.
Etzebeth, capped 78 times for the Boks, took to Facebook to deny the reports.
Police confirmed that a charge has been laid and that at present, all persons involved in the incident are being questioned.
SARU said Etzebeth will remain part of the Springbok squad.
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WARNING: Video contains profanities!
“We have spoken to Eben and he categorically denies any physical or racial abuse on his part as has been alleged in social media,”the SARU statement said.
This follows the call by the Khoisan Defiance Campaign for the “immediate arrest” of Etzebeth.
They also suggested there will be a “complete shutdown” of Langebaan if he is not arrested by SAPS and if he is not removed from the Springbok World Cup team.
“Racist physical and verbal assault on any person because of the colour of their skin is unlawful and unacceptable,” the Khoisan Defiance Campaign said in a statement.
“Racism has no place in our society and must be dealt with as a matter of great concern.
“A coloured man was allegedly brutally assaulted and threatened by a white male person apparently with a gun last night in Langebaan (West Coast) in full view of other persons. The victim allegedly identified his allege perpetrator as Springbok player, Eben Etzebeth. Allegedly Eben Etzebeth confronted the man and some women and wanted to know “why are you hotnots still on the streets”. Thereafter he allegedly brutally assaulted the coloured man with a gun in his hand.
“We want answers from SAPS in Langebaan and they should account why no arrests have been made in this serious assault case immediately. Secondly we want to know why the law enforcement agencies of Saldanha Bay Municipality did not act on the scene to assist police and the allege victim. It seems as if certain people are being treated differently when violent crimes are being reported and handled in Langebaan. We will not tolerate any assault on the basis of our skin colour. Every person regardless his or her skin tone has every right to free movement in Langebaan. This is not a white men’s paradise or dorpie where the white male are seen supreme. White supremacy has no right to exists and the police and law enforcement has a constitutional duty to protect all citizens against any form of prejudice. It’s a national duty and constitutional obligation in which they have made an oath.
“Therefore we are calling on SAPS to fulfil its obligation and arrest of Eben Etzebeth immediately. In addition to this call we call for his immediate removal from the Springbok World Cup Team. We call on the people and all organisations of the West Coast to unite against racism and support our call for a complete shutdown Langebaan this week if both SAPS and the management team of the Springboks failed to act against Eben Etzebeth.
“We are therefore waiting on the Police, the Human Rights Commission and the Springbok Management Team including head coach Rassie Erasmus to act immediately. We see this in a serious light and we are serious in our countries fight against racism and discrimination. The use of violence and lawlessness to settle disputes or disagreement in our country should not be tolerated. No white person should be attacked because of the colour of his or her skin and in the same breath no black person should be attacked because he or she is Indian, African or coloured. We want justice immediately.
“A complete shutdown of Langebaan must and will follow should the allege perpetrator who assaulted the person not being arrested by the police and removed from the Springbok team.
“The shutdown is necessary and we will organise all communities in the West Coast to shutdown Langebaan under the banner: ‘We are not your Hotnots’.”