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Dietician breaks her silence over Jantjies affair allegations

By Ian Cameron
Elton Jantjies of South Africa walks onto the field during team warm up prior to the Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final match between Wales and South Africa at International Stadium Yokohama on October 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Springboks dietician at the centre of claims of an affair with married flyhalf Elton Jantjies has released a statement denying claims she had an affair with the player.

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Zeenat Simjee and married father-of-three Jantjies left the camp last Sunday and returned to South Africa after newspaper reports claimed that pair had been involved in a romantic tryst prior to the Springboks game with the All Blacks last month.

Simjee has denied the claims and called on the newspaper to retract the story.

In a statement released on Friday, the team dietician hit back at the newspaper that she claims published ‘baseless’ accusations about her and the player’s off-field relationship.

“I am the subject of some extremely negative media reports over the last week, tarnishing me personally and degrading my dignity,” reads the statement from the 27-year-old.

“I appreciate the support of my fellow Springbok management team members who concurred with my choice to return home to work through this with the support of my family and relevant professionals.

“I chose to maintain a dignified silence while the media storm was raging, as I am severely traumatised by what has transpired.

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“Let me unequivocally state that I am shocked at the level of sensational journalism from the newspaper that first published the article. I am devastated by the fact that a journalist and his newspaper could publish such damaging allegations on false and baseless hearsay. It is disappointing.

“As a young professional, I hold my profession in high regard. In the same light, it is an honour and privilege to represent my country and be part of the Springbok Team. As a person of values, I will not bring about disrepute to myself, my family, my profession and all the many incredible people that have been kind, positive and supportive towards me throughout this ordeal.

“The weekend ahead of the test week in Mbombela, I had been with my parents dealing with family bereavement. So, the allegations of me spending time with Elton Jantjies at a guesthouse is devoid of any truth.

“This has cast an extremely negative aspersion and disgraceful perspective on my character to which other media houses have also added their perspective. I appeal to the original publisher to retract and apologise for the negative sentiment cast on me.

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“I am committed to the Springbok Team and would like to expediently get this behind me so I can continue with my professional responsibilities to the Springbok team.”

Jantjies himself has also denied the claim, saying that Simjee was never at the guesthouse, although he has given no explanation as to why he was. “I do not want to say much about the newspaper article, except that it contains many untruths and half-truths. For the record: The Springboks dietician Zeenat Simjee was never with me at either of the two guest houses that I stayed at. She is a good friend and nothing more. That her good name is now being dragged through the mud is a shame.

“I will now concentrate on getting my life and career back on track and wish to do so privately, so this will be my only statement on this matter.”

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Jantjies wife Iva has said that the player also denies the claims, stating this week: “I was shocked, I’m still shocked, I thought she was a family friend,” Jantjies’ wife commented. “Elton denies everything … I have my reservations, but all we can do now is wait and see.”

It is unclear when or if Jantjies or Simjee will return to the Bok squad, who are currently stationed in Argentina.

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