The South African Rugby Union (Saru) will have to answer to the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) following a complaint by a group of black fans of alleged racial abuse.
According to TimesLIVE, one member of the group, Lunga Siyo – who is also a lawyer by profession – is particularly aggrieved by the governing body’s lack of engagement on the matter.
He alleges that he and his friends were “ridiculed” as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters during the Rugby Championship clash between the Springboks and All Blacks at Loftus last October, purely because they wore 2017’s special edition red Bok jerseys to the game.
The kit was specifically designed to celebrate the sport’s 25-year unity anniversary.
“Whilst we were walking towards the Gate 11 entrance‚ an unknown white man pointed towards us and uttered the following words to his friend: “kyk hier‚ hulle is die EFF” (Look here, they’re the EFF),” the complaint stated.
“The only inference I could draw from the use of the acronym “EFF” is that he was referring to Economic Freedom Fighters‚ a political party. As I was digesting this comment and its import‚ his unknown friend pointed in our direction and uttered the following words: “Ja‚ kyk hier die bobbejaan” (Yes, look at this baboon).”
It’s also alleged that a banana was thrown at the group, though Siyo didn’t see that happening.
When confronting one of the unknown white males about his “baboon” comment, the man denied he said anything.
“During the course of this confrontation a white woman emerged and dragged “unknown white man 2” away from the confrontation and they left. I neither pursued them nor did I pursue the matter any further with the South African Police Service or any official at the stadium.”
Siyo clarified to the publication that they’re not focused on the identities of the two white males.
Instead, they want Saru to “have proper protocols to deal with racial abuse issues effectively in the future”.
Saru never acknowledged a receipt of correspondence dated 23 October 2018 from Siyo and only replied to a 14 December 2018 notification from the SAHRC that a complaint had been laid on January 17.
Saru chief Jurie Roux “apologised” for the delay and blamed the governing body being closed over that festive period.
Both he and president Mark Alexander have expressed their willingness to attend the hearing.