Cape Town - Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has finally broken his silence over the Eben Etzebeth saga.
The Springbok lock, together with a group of friends, were accused of
assault and racial abuse in the early hours of the morning at a
restaurant in Langebaan in the Western Cape last month.
Mthethwa, who was speaking at the announcement of the nominees for
the South African Sports Awards on Friday, reiterated that Etzebeth is innocent
until proven guilty.
"Our jurisprudence states that any person is innocent until proven otherwise by a court of law," he said.
"It cuts across everybody in society and we have full confidence in
our criminal justice system that justice is going to be done in this
"Let me say it categorically that we are not going to tolerate any
racism whenever it manifests itself. If this process finds him to have
violated human rights‚ he will have to face the music.
"We have given the space to the rugby leadership to speak to the
coach and he did say that if it is found that any of his players are on
the wrong side of race relations in this country‚ steps will have to be
taken. It cuts across and that is the position of government."
Mthethwa added that despite the impending investigation, Mzansi needs to unite behind the Springboks.
"We will be watching and the team must be supported 100 percent
because they are not representing an individual but the whole country,"
"They are hoisting the flag of SA high‚ so all South Africans must be behind the team to win."
Despite the cloud hanging over his head, Etzebeth is likely to start for the Boks in their quarter-final clash next Sunday, October 20.