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Rights watchdog in South Africa to take legal action against star rugby player Etzebeth2 minutes read

Etzebeth, 27, allegedly insulted, assaulted and pointed a gun at a 42-year-old homeless man in Langebaan

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Eben Etzebeth of South Africa (R) is tackled by Jefferson Poirot of France

South Africa’s rights watchdog on Wednesday said it will take legal action against Springbok star lock Eben Etzebeth who faces allegations of assaulting and racially abusing a homeless man just before the World Cup.

In a statement, the South African Human Rights Commission said it “will institute legal proceedings against Mr. Eben Etzebeth in the Equality Court” on Friday.

Etzebeth, 27, allegedly insulted, assaulted and pointed a gun at a 42-year-old homeless man in Langebaan, a seaside resort about 120 kilometres north of Cape Town in August.

He was named in South Africa’s squad for the World Cup in Japan just a day after the allegations surfaced on social media. The 78-cap lock was interviewed by Human Rights Commission officials before flying out with the South African squad. He denied the allegations.

The commission said it would meet the complainant on Thursday to take further instructions.

In this file photo taken on October 06, 2018 Springbok’s lock Eben Etzebeth stands before the start of the Rugby Championship match between South Africa and New Zealand at the Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. – South Africa’s rights watchdog on October 2, 2019, said it will take legal action against Springbok star lock Eben Etzebeth who faces allegations of assaulting and racially abusing a homeless man just before the World Cup. (Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP)

“We will definitely ask for monetary compensation, we will ask for a public apology, we will ask for criminal prosecution of Mr Etzebeth, we will ask for community service and other forms of relief,” Buang Jones, acting head of legal serves at SAHRC told reporters.

The commission will also hold a public meeting on Thursday in the town. “The community are demanding justice, so we are going to give them a platform to ventilate around this matter,” said Jones.

He also said the commission will approach the country’s police service to ask it to look into claims of bias against a police officer who initially investigated the matter.

South Africa’s rugby body, SA Rugby has vowed to cooperate fully with investigations and promised to “take appropriate action once the legal investigation and process have concluded”.

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Business News

Business rescue team rule out mid-June return for SAA flights

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South African Airways business rescue practitioners have rejected an “unvetted” statement released by the state-owned airline indicating plans to resume domestic flights from mid-June.

The national carrier had on Tuesday, announced that its planes will be back in the skies between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

But Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, the business rescue administrators, say the airline had breached communications protocol by issuing a statement which “created an unfair expectation on our relevant stakeholders, including SAA’s customers, as well as employees who are on unpaid absence as a result of the travel ban which led to the halting of the company’s operations, compounding its financial distress.”

SAA’s media statement had gone out without the approval of the practitioners as demanded by the business rescue procedure.

With the government of South Africa announcing that the country will enter into lockdown alert level 3 from June 1, domestic air travel will be permitted but only for business purposes.

The business rescue practitioners said SAA planes will remain grounded until a better understanding of what the level 3 regulations entail.

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Business News

Zambia’s Zesco, Chinese firm enter $548 man deal

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Zesco Limited, Zambia’s state-owned electricity company, has signed contracts worth $548 million with Power China to develop three solar power plants that will add 600 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.

The three contracts are a step towards diversifying renewable energy for the country, which relies heavily on hydropower and has faced electricity shortages partly due to droughts.

“The three-grid solar PV projects will have a capacity of 200 MW each,” Zesco Managing Director, Victor Mundende said in the statement, adding that the power plants will boost access to electricity and enhance industrial development. A generating date is yet to be disclosed.

Zambia’s power supply deficit has grown by nearly 20% since September, State power utility, Zesco announced in March, despite hefty price hikes and the government’s fast-tracking of support for green energy projects. 

Zesco’s Director of Corporate Services Patrick Mwila said in March the electricity deficit had grown to 810 megawatts (MW) from a 690 MW gap in September last year. E

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Southern Africa

Sharks happy to hold on to Rugby World Cup stars

South African rugby side happy to hold on to Springboks Rugby World Cup stars Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi.

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South African rugby side The Sharks have expressed their joy at holding on to Springboks Rugby World Cup stars Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a major shakeup in world and South African rugby as many high-profile players have left their clubs for pastures green.

Sharks have been able to retain the services of Am and Mapimpi but lost Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen who agreed a deal before the Super Rugby season kicked off.

Am had led the Sharks to the top of the Super Rugby table before the season was called off and was made the skipper at the start of the season.

Eduard Coetzee, Sharks CEO said he is delighted to have the pair in the team and never wanted to put pressure on them to stay at the club.

Coetzee was happy with coach Sean Everitt for the impact he has had on the team since his appointment.

“This has been quite an emotional and difficult time. What we said to the players is that one way or another they’d be doing nothing wrong” Coetzee said.

“It was not like they asked for it [the escape clause], but it was an option given to them, and then it was up to them as individuals on how to handle it.

“I think they have dealt with it really well, and it was done on a platform of respect. I think it speaks volumes for the culture we’ve established, and how [coach] Sean [Everitt] has been able to get the team really close.”

With Am and Mapimpi staying with the team, Sharks have reatained Curwin Bosch, Thomas du Toit, JJ van der Merscht, Ruben van Heerden and Aphelele Fassi.

“It shows the players’ confidence in what we’re doing,’ Coetzee went on to say.

“It’s backing up what we’re putting in place and shows that players can trust us. We’re pretty relieved, but also just very happy that no one else is heading out the door.

South Africa Rugby had initiated a 21-day contract exit window in April so players could make moves to other clubs thereby helping the financial part of the game as play has been suspended.

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