Rugby World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth accused of racial abuse

Former Springboks captain Eben Etzebeth has been accused of using racists slurs and pointing a gun at a group of men in a town north of Cape Town.

Springbok player and 2019 Rugby World Cup winner, Eben Etzebeth

South Africa's human rights watchdog Friday said Rugby World Cup 2019-winning Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will face charges of alleged assault and verbal racial abuse.

The 28-year-old, who previously captained the Springboks, was accused of using racist slurs against four men in August and pointing a gun at one of them in the coastal town of Langebaan, about 120 kilometres (74 miles) north of Cape Town. 

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The four are seeking more than a million rand ($70,000) in compensation.

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Etzebeth had tried to get the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to drop the case in a separate court.

But on Friday, SAHRC said the matter would "proceed to the Equality Court to reach finality in a more expeditious and amicable manner" referring to specialised courts that hear cases on hate speech, unfair discrimination, and harassment.

"Both Mr Etzebeth and the commission are confident that this would be in the best interests of all parties involved," the SAHRC, said in a statement.

The lock, capped 82 times, was in the South Africa squad that won the World Cup in Japan in November. He has maintained his innocence in the case.