The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is investigating the conduct of its legal head, Buang Jones, concerning the investigation into Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth, Parliament has heard on Tuesday.
Etzebeth is accused of using a racial insult when leaving a pub in Langebaan on the West Coast in the early hours of August 25 with a group of friends. The incident allegedly also involved two men being pistol-whipped.
The SAHRC has submitted papers for a hate speech case against the Springbok lock, currently in Japan representing South Africa at the Rugby World Cup, at the court sitting in Hopefield on the West Coast, while the police are conducting a separate criminal investigation.
Etzebeth has denied the allegations before the Boks left for Japan.
At a community meeting at Langebaan last week, Jones said the commission did not care about the offender’s prominence or standing in society, “whether you are Eben Etzebeth, Adam Catzavelos or Angelo Agrizzi”.
“He always got away with it. But this time around, it stops here,” he added to thunderous applause, News24 reported.
TimesLive also reported that Jones had reportedly said Etzebeth “was used to getting away with murder”.
Jones’s comments were criticised by the FF Plus.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, FF Plus MP Corné Mulder asked about this, he said in a statement issued after the meeting.
He said the SAHRC responded that Jones may not make any further statements to the media about the Etzebeth case, his conduct will be investigated and they will determine whether he should have any further involvement in the case.
“The FF Plus has always said the HRC must act without any prejudice in the interest of all South Africans,” Mulder said.
“The way in which the HRC handled the Etzebeth case the past few weeks, created the impression that this is not the case and this has now been confirmed with the actions against Jones. The FF Plus welcomes the actions of the HRC.”
Netwerk24 reported that SAHRC commissioner André Gaum said that Jones will be investigated for his “problematic” statements.
The Afrikanerbond on Tuesday complained to the commission about Jones’s conduct.
“His statements and accusations are inflammatory and is adding fuel to the accusations of racism,” reads the statement by Afrikanerbond chief secretary Jan Bosman.
They have received confirmation that there is an investigation.
Jones is one of the 28 people who have been nominated or applied to become the deputy public protector.
– Compiled by Jan Gerber