Lions have 'zero tolerance' for racism

Thu, 03 May 2018 11:51

REACTION: The Golden Lions Rugby Union will let the law 'take its course', as an alleged racial incident in a club game continues to escalate on social media.

However, GLRU President Kevin de Klerk told rugby365 that they take the matter "very serious" and will not hesitate to take action once the investigation is complete.

Wanderers club publicly levelled accusations of physical and racial abuse against Roodepoort players and spectators, following the incident which occurred during an Under-21 match between the sides on April 25.

'During the match, Wanderers players reported to their coach that there was racial abuse being directed at the Wanderers players.

Wanderers put a statement out to the media and also posted on social media. Roodepoort responded with a statement of their own.

* Both statements are posted, in full, below.

"The team investigating this consists of four lawyers are two advocates, who have done plenty of this kind of work over many years- including for the South African Rugby Union," De Klerk told rugby365.

"According to the laws of this country, and SARU [regulations], everybody is entitled to present their cases.

"Unfortunately, in many cases, the people are being accused publicly, before their cases were even heard. We have to follow the process, according to the regulations of our parent body [SARU].

"That does not mean we are downplaying it, it is incredibly important for us."

De Klerk pointed out that in the nine years he has been involved at the Golden Lions Rugby Union, there have been two similar incidents.

"One [case] I inherited and we tackled those with all our conviction. In fact, one club [Edenvale] has been permanently banned from the union."

In one of the two previous incidents, Eldoronians and the same Wanderers were involved in a match in 2009 that was abandoned in the second half, amid allegations of violent conduct and racism.

The other case involved Edenvale (subsequently banned for life from the GLRU) and Soweto.

"We have to wait for the recommendation of the committee [that is investigating it]," De Klerk said, adding: "We can't speculate.

"However, we don't hesitate to take steps and implement the correct measures.

"The overriding factor is, what do the laws of this country say?

"We have zero tolerance [for such behaviour]. Our record speaks for itself."

By Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com