Political parties soothe defamed South African rugby player

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Political parties in South Africa have apologised to national rugby player, Geo Cronje for negative statements made about his suspended from the World Cup squad following allegations of racism against him.
Cronje was expelled from the World Cup training squad for allegedly refusing to share a room with a black player, Quinton Davids.
The Cape Argus newspaper reported that Cronje was ordered by Coach Rudolf Straueli to share a hotel room with Davids at a training camp in Pretoria.
But Cronje reportedly refused saying he would not use the same bathroom, toilet or shower as Davids.
However, following an internal investigation, the South African Rugby Football Union (Sarfu) announced that Cronje had not broken its code of conduct and no further disciplinary action would be taken against him.
Sarfu said that while certain team protocols had been breached in terms of players swapping rooms without permission, there was not conclusive evidence that this activity was based on racism.
The African National Congress said its attack on Cronje had been made on the understanding that the allegations had been confirmed.
The ANC said it acknowledged that the statement it issued inadvertently transgressed the basic principle of the presumption of innocence, "and for this it apologises to Cronje.
" The Democratic Alliance welcomed the speedy resolution of the matter.
"Sarfu should be congratulated for taking the allegations of racism so seriously, and acting so decisively.
It is a relief to hear that the inquiry found the allegations of racism by Geo Cronje to be unfounded," the party's Donald Lee said in a statement.
The New National Party also welcomed the conclusion of the affair, saying, "Someone made an allegation of racism against Cronje.
It is extremely dangerous in a society such as ours, to accuse people, without cause, of racism.
" Meanwhile, the Trade Union Movement, Solidarity, on Sunday demanded the removal of the Managing Director of Sarfu, Rian Oberholzer, from his post with immediate effect.
   "This course of action has been motivated by the way in which he administered the false allegations of racism directed against Geo Cronje," said Solidarity spokesman Kallie Kriel.
"Oberholzer withdrew Cronje from the Springbok Training Squad before the matter had been investigated.
This lead many people to brand Cronje as a racist.
Solidarity believes that Oberholzer and those who branded Cronje as a racist should issue a full public apology to Cronje," Kriel suggested.

01 september 2003 10:14:00




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