With the euphoria, surrounding the world cup champions all but over it is back to business for Eben Etzebeth. The latest news in the Eben saga suggests that the SAHRC (South African Human Rights Commission), were too hasty and are now back tracking with insufficient evidence the cause for concern from the SAHRC.
Now if you do not know Eben has been accused of racially and physically abusing a group of men. The SAHRC brought charges in the Equality Court, which Eben has since appealed against.
Tseliso Thipanyane the head advocate for the SAHRC expressed doubts over a lack of evidence in the case against Eben. However, SAHRC chairman Bongani Majola has refuted these claims as false, saying, “there is no truth to these claims.” In addition, “From the complaints, we’ve got everything. We have evidence.”
In contrast there are documents in which Thipanyane says,” I really would not want us to go to court without a proper investigation.” Suggesting that things thus far have been mishandled by the SAHRC.
Majola seems more confident however, saying that the SAHRC will be ready as soon as Eben’s appeal to stop them is dismissed.
It would appear that the full story in this case is extremely difficult to understand. We have heard Eben’s side of the story and the story of his accusers however we have not been privy to any investigation thus far with mainly eyewitness accounts of events as evidence.
May take on the situation is as follows. If there was enough evidence against Eben then I believe the case would be further along than it currently is. I do not believe Eben is 100% innocent in this case. I think he had some role in what happened but unfortunately, we will never know the truth of what happened on that day. As they say, there are three sides to every story your side, my side, and the truth. I think that this matter will most likely be settled outside of court with both sides coming to some sort of compromise. I sincerely hope that Eben has not racially or physically abused anyone in this incident but the reality is that either way we will never know unless you were there on that night.
If Eben is found guilty of these charges, an example needs to be made of the world cup champion. As sad as it would be, it would put a huge damper on what has been such a joyful time for South Africa for the last month but these things need to be dealt with and treated harshly. An example made now will deter this behavior. As a Springbok, your duties do not stop off the field. You need to know that young children look up to you as a role model and as unfair as it may be your life will be scrutinized at every turn but that is what you sign up for as a pro athlete so if you are not going to be an example then don’t become a pro. Of course, we are all human and we make mistakes however, racism is no mistake. Unfortunately it is a way of life, you do not wake up one day and think,’ hmmm I think I’ll be racist today’. It goes much deeper than that and if Eben is guilty of that then he needs to be educated. I do not mean school education; although I believe schools should have a subject on racism and race at school but that is another matter, I mean he needs to be educated or rather unlearn racist behavior. It can be done and currently should not be hard.
We may never know what happened on that fateful evening in Langebaan but hopefully we get a just outcome from the legal proceedings.