Cape Town - A Langebaan resident who was present on the night Eben Etzebeth got into a tussle with members of the Langebaan Yacht Club on August 24 said the rugby star was allegedly “already drunk and aggressive” when he and his friends arrived.
The resident, who spoke to Weekend Argus on condition of anonymity, said the row erupted when one of the coloured members of the club asked someone in Etzebeth’s group to remove his cap.
“The club’s rules state that you are not allowed to wear a cap inside the facility. Also, it is against the rules for a non-member to enter the club without being accompanied by a member. Eben and his friends are not members of the club,” said the resident.
Etzebeth and his friends allegedly took exception to being called to order by the member and the manager of the facility had to be called to break up the scuffle.
“They were rude and were swearing at the coloured members. They were displaying macho behaviour. They approached the coloured members and that’s when the drama started,” said the resident.
Etzebeth faces allegations of assault, wielding a firearm and hate speech.
This newspaper is in possession of a video that was allegedly taken when the incident occurred. The man, surrounded by his friends, can be seen demanding an apology from another person. This person’s face is not clear.
On Friday, in Hopefield, near Langebaan, senior legal advisor for the Human Rights Commission Boang Jones filed four applications on behalf of the two claimants at the Equality Court.
Enver Wilsnach and Siyaad Smith are claiming in papers that Etzebeth assaulted them and they are suing for damages in excess of R1 million.
Jones said the clerk of the Equality Court in Hopefield would inform Etzebeth through his lawyers that a case has been filed. He will have 10 days to file an answering affidavit.
The magistrate will have to make a decision whether the Equality Court is the correct forum to deal with this matter.
“If everything goes well we could meet with the magistrate for direction by mid-November and the case can even start in December,” said Jones.
In addition to the damages claim, the HRC is also demanding that Etzebeth do community service in Langebaan, that he attend anger management therapy and that he publicly apologise to the coloured community and to the citizens of South Africa.
Jones said the HRC would ask the Equality Court to declare the H-word hate speech, as the K-word has been.
He also confirmed that the HRC had been contacted by SA Rugby (Saru) lawyers who said the union had launched its own investigation and it had appointed a retired judge to lead it.
National convenor of the Khoisan Defiance Campaign Sammy Claassen said Etzebeth does have criminal charges to answer to.
“We laid criminal charges against Eben on August 25. He is tainted. South Africa has a serious crime problem, especially with guns. Nobody is above the law,” he said.
Claassen also hinted at “forces” that had already declared Etzebeth innocent and said this was counter-productive and should be condemned.
Claassen also took a swipe at Saru president Mark Alexander and called on him to resign.
“He has embarrassed our country. How could he allow a man who faces criminal charges to represent us at the Rugby World Cup?” he said.
Neither Etzebeth nor Saru had commented on the applications filed with the Equality Court by the time of publication.