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Rondebosch Boys’ High rugby coach in court on charges of alleged assault of rival minor player

Rondebosch Boys’ High rugby coach in court on charges of alleged assault of rival minor player
Clinton van Rensburg, Head Coach of Rondebosch Boys' High during the Mutual and Federal Premier Interschools match between Bishops and Rondebosch at Bishops School on 8 June, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Peter Heeger/Gallo Images)

A Rondebosch Boys’ High School rugby coach and coordinator is facing an ongoing legal battle after allegedly assaulting an opposing school’s player after a match.

Rondebosch Boys’ High School rugby coaching coordinator and rugby coach Clinton van Rensburg is facing an ongoing criminal court battle in a case of assault against a former South African College High School (SACS) student who was a minor at the time of the alleged incident, last year.

The alleged assault took place after a first-team rugby match between Rondebosch Boys’ High School and SACS at SACS in Newlands on Saturday 13 August 2022. Van Rensburg is currently still employed at Rondebosch Boys’ High School. 

In the charge sheet, part of the court documents obtained by Daily Maverick, the complainant alleges that Van Rensburg struck him with a closed fist in his rib cage after the match had concluded while the players and coaches were in the process of shaking hands. Rondebosch had won the match 24-12.

The court documents stipulate that a medical practitioner confirmed that the complainant sustained “soft tissue bruises” and experienced “tenderness” to the “right lower rib cage.”

Van Rensburg was arrested on 23 September 2022 and has made eight court appearances in the Wynberg Magistrates Court, with his next court appearance expected on 7 August 2023.

Van Rensburg, who played as a professional rugby player for the Sharks and Lions in 2000 and 2001 respectively, has served as the rugby coordinator at Rondebosch Boys’ High School since 2009 and simultaneously as assistant rugby coach at the University of Cape Town since 2013.

Rondebosch Boys’

Clinton van Rensburg (Rondebosch coach) during the Schools U19A match between Bishops and Rondebosch at Bishops on 21 August, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: peter-heeger.com / Gallo Images)

Van Rensburg pleaded not guilty to the charge during his first appearance in court on 27 September 2022 before being released on a warning to appear before the court on 10 November 2022 which he complied with.

Van Rensburg’s last court appearance was on 10 July 2023 when his defence, represented by Advocate Lee Gabriel and attorney Pieter Schalk Brink, requested a discharge of the case per Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

This clause encompasses the right of an accused to be discharged from the offence he has allegedly committed at the closing of the prosecution’s case, if the defence believes the State did not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Daily Maverick approached Brink for their reasoning to invoke Section 174 but the attorney declined to comment, saying their reasons are contained in the court file.

Rondebosch response

Rondebosch Boys’ High School headmaster, Shaun Simpson is aware of the ongoing case and responded to Daily Maverick via email regarding Van Rensburg’s continued employment at the school.

“We are aware of the disputed case between the complainant and Mr van Rensburg and are monitoring the outcome closely,” he said.

“It refers to an alleged assault in a very public space where, although present, spectators, coaches and educators from both schools in close proximity did not witness any incident and where there is photographic evidence which seems to show the contrary.

“Mr van Rensburg has worked with young men for more than a decade without any incidents of this nature and has an excellent reputation as a mentor and coach in club, provincial and schools’ rugby.

“Given his impeccable history, the testament of young men with whom he has worked in the past, and the disputed incident for which there is no evidence but the allegation which there is reason to believe may prove vexatious, leads us to conclude that we have no reason to be concerned for the safety of the minors with whom he is involved at our school.

“We await the outcome of the case before the court to reach a legal finding that will guide us in our response going forward.” DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Bill Gild says:

    The acronym for the South African College Schools is SACS, not Sacs!

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    This is news, DM? Some fretful allegation of a punch that caused minor soft tissue bruising and some discomfort? A claim that no one who was present around the two at the time could substantiate? You an old SACS boy Keanan?

  • This doesn’t appear to be newsworthy or of interest to the general public?

  • Anne Felgate says:

    Actually it is good that it has been reported
    There will be lots of gossip and the article was balanced in my opinion
    When it is finalized- the gossip will be put to bed

    • andrew farrer says:

      let the truth be set free. “a medical practitioner confirmed that the complainant sustained “soft tissue bruises” and experienced “tenderness” to the “right lower rib cage”- NO SHIT SHERLOCK! totally unexpected after a game of rugby!

  • John Smythe says:

    Is this news that adds to my knowledge base? Maybe not. Especially considering that there is no court judgement. So, this is just biased IOL type reporting. Bad one, DM.

    • David A says:

      How is it in any way biased? The simple that fact that it doesn’t add to your “knowledge base” (not the primary purpose of news) does not mean it’s relevant. Read through the article again and find me one thing in it that isn’t simply a statement of fact or the quoting of the principal’s statement.

      • - Matt says:

        Hi David, how is it in any way newsworthy? Refer to Rod MacLeod’s comment above…

        • David A says:

          A criminal case in which an adult school rugby coach is alleged to have punched a child from an opposing school’s team in a post-game handshake line is relatively interesting, to be honest. It might not be of national importance, but that doesn’t make it not news. You knew what you were getting with the title. If it isn’t something that interests you, just don’t read it.

      • John Smythe says:

        Calm down, David. The reporting is clearly biased. Nothing has been proven. And so until there is something, then he remains innocent. If he’s found guilty, then jump up and down as much as you like and he’ll deserve your ire.

      • John Smythe says:

        There’s no proof at all that the event even transpired. So, the allegation is a little shaky. Is that factual enough for you?

  • David A says:

    The article sets out only the facts as they pertain to the ongoing criminal investigation. It also quotes the response from the Rondebosch principal in full. How could the article possibly be any more objective and unbiased?

  • Tony Reilly says:

    Louise, I quite liked the article …

  • Kevin Schaafsma says:

    This is not news or public interest. Certainly if the coach is convicted report on that, but this is gutter journalism Daily Maverick. You are better than this!

  • David A says:

    What’s the deal with all the contents in this article lambasting DM for the reporting? For the record, there’s nothing at all biased about this article. Had someone rounded up an army of RBHS supporters for the coach’s sake?

    • Jane Crankshaw says:

      There is obviously more to this episode than we know – 3 court appearances for something as inconsequential as this and still no decision? Either our judiciary has collapsed completely, this is a race based complaint, the kids family is politically connected or there is something we don’t know about!

      • David A says:

        Three appearances in any criminal matter isn’t all that unusual. They’re also going to be because of the investigating and prosecuting authorities, not the judiciary. Would be interesting to hear some speculation as to the motive behind the charges, but that would, in effect, actually validate the complaints in the comments section that the reporting is biased (which it clearly is not).

        • John Smythe says:

          No. Of course it isn’t biased, David (and I have no affiliation with RBHS at all – there’s absolutely no history of this kind of thing by the coach. Instead, I have affiliation with innocent until proven guilty).

  • Peter Oosthuizen says:

    Presumably soft tissue bruises and tenderness to the right lower rib cage are highly suspicious after a rugby match.

  • Chris 123 says:

    Seems a another “compensation” attempt.

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