The Human Rights Commission has confirmed that Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth is still facing accusations of hate speech.
Last week, the Acting Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions revealed that Etzebeth and his cousin Emile would not be prosecuted on two counts of assault as there were “no prospects of a successful prosecution against the two men”.
But, while the criminal charges against the cousins have been dropped, the hate speech case against them in the equality court has not yet been settled.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred shortly before the Springboks departed for the 2019 World Cup when Etzebeth and his cousin, Emile, were charged with assault following an incident outside a nightclub in Langebaan involving two local residents.
“The hate speech charge is completely different from the allegations of assault,” Fatima Chohan of the HRC told Rapport newspaper. “We are still continuing with [the case] and are already at an advanced but sensitive place in the negotiations.”
The two complainants, who filed criminal charges, have claimed that the Etzebeths shouted the “H-word” at them.
The state decided to prosecute but two eyewitnesses of the incident could not identify the assailant.
In 2020, SA Rugby’s independent investigation relating to claims about the alleged racially-charged incident involving Etzebeth in Langebaan also cleared the Bok lock of any wrongdoing.
SA Rugby instituted the internal investigation into the matter in October 2019, but following the completion of the investigative report, the governing body was advised not to make it public for legal reasons.