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Eben Etzebeth matter follows Buang Jones to deputy PP interview

Jones is among eight shortlisted candidates for the position of deputy public protector being interviewed in Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A screengrab shows deputy public protector candidate Buang Jones in Parliament during his interview on 12 November 2019. Picture: SABC Digital News/youtube.com

CAPE TOWN - The South African Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) acting head of legal services Buang Jones said two legal opinions obtained by the commission have exonerated him from wrongdoing in the matter of Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth.

Jones is among eight shortlisted candidates for the position of deputy public protector being interviewed in Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Jones has told Parliament’s justice committee that remarks he made at a meeting, including that Etzebeth was allowed “to get away with murder,” were taken out of context.

Jones found himself the subject of an SAHRC investigation after making the remarks.

Etzebeth is facing hate speech charges levelled by the commission after allegedly making a racist slur while leaving a pub in Langebaan on the west coast in August.

Jones said two senior counsel gave the commission their opinion.

“These two legal opinions have exonerated me and the commission’s fact-finding exercise. I hope it will be finalised in due course. In terms of our act, the CEO is entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining discipline in the institution. And as far as I know, I have not received any formal notification of a disciplinary process against me.”

Jones told the committee he found the work done by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to be “commendable”, adding there was also room for improvement and that Mkhwebane needed support.

He also spoke of the need for succession planning in the office of the Public Protector, as none of those who’ve served terms as deputy have gone on to hold the top job.

Jones did not feel his relative youth was a hurdle or his lack of forensic skills, saying it was one of the areas he’d attend to if he got the position. He is aged 35.

WATCH: I am not a racist - Buang Jones