By Doug Mattushek - 03 October 2019Views : 536
SA Rugby continue to walk the fine line between the law and protecting their player.
The company released a statement early on Thursday morning that indicated they are fully cooperating with authorities regarding Eben Etzebeth’s ongoing assault case.
"SA Rugby reaffirms its commitment as a good corporate citizen to abide by any requirements placed on it or its employees by South African authorities," said an SA Rugby spokesperson in a statement.
"We have fulfilled all requests to date and will continue to do so as and when advised. Following our discussions with the South African Human Rights Commission we have instituted an internal process to address the matter, the details of which remain an employment matter between SA Rugby and the player."
The legal heat is being turned up on the Springbok lock as management and SA Rugby attempt to the shield the squad from distractions during their ongoing Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan.
On Friday, the South African Human Rights Commission is heading to the Equality Court to begin proceedings against Etzebeth, who is accused of racially abusing and pointing a firearm at a fellow patron at a pub in Langebaan.
SA Rugby president Mark Alexander told TimesLIVE that the issue is a private matter.
"This is also a matter between employer and employee‚" said Alexander said.
"We can't just suspend the player. What if it transpires in a few weeks that the player is actually innocent? He can take us to the cleaners. We have to protect the organisation."
The Springboks face Italy in a must-win Pool B encounter on Friday. Captain Siya Kolisi was quizzed by the press on the Etzebeth issue, but pleaded ignorance.
"I don't know what is really happening," said the flanker.
"SA Rugby has put out a statement. We are just here to play. Eben is playing this weekend. We haven't had any distraction this week."
Meanwhile, the community in Langebaan is up in arms over the handling of the incident. SAHRC representatives are set to meet with the community on Thursday evening.